If you’ve recently become a manager, team leader or supervisor for the first time then congratulations! This is great recognition of qualities that someone has seen in you. Secondly I would like to say, ‘Good luck!’, because you are going to need it.
Making the step from team member to someone who is responsible for managing other people’s work successfully can be quite a challenge for some people. The main issue is that as a team member you are mainly a ‘doer’ and responsible for just your own duties. When you begin managing or supervising the output of others you need to do less doing and more managing. You also have the complication you are dealing with people (not robots) who will not necessarily do what you ask them!
So, if you are in this position here are 5 top tips to get you started.
1. Don’t Let The Power Go To Your Head!
We’ve seen and heard of many examples where newly promoted managers, often from within the same team, turn into an alien. This alien being thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread, they are very bossy and sometimes aggressive when things don’t happen as they wish. Look to be yourself whilst being mindful of what you need to get done.
2. Make Your Expectations Clear
Every manager has their own ways of doing things and you will probably have your own ideas of possible changes based upon your experiences as a team member. Most managers will give themselves a chance to get bedded in before implementing any improvements and this is wise as things may look different in this new position. Whether you decide to make immediate changes or not, tell people your intentions. For example if you going to keep things the same in the short term, tell them. You can also tell them that you would consider their input for improvements. If you are already clear about your own ‘vision’ for the team, tell them and bring them along with you on the journey. When doing this you may want to give yourself some leeway on timescales as these often have a habit of slipping once the reality of the job hits home.
3. Have One-To-One Meetings With Everybody In Your New Team
When any change happens in a team, especially the appointment of a new manager, people are going to be apprehensive. Holding a personal one-to-one meeting with each individual gives you the opportunity to help ease any concerns they may have. Depending upon the relationship they had with the previous manager (good or bad) they will want to know how that will be affected. Remember to keep an open mind and make your own judgement about people rather than rely upon what you have been told.
4. Show That You Value Them & Their Contribution
One management theory talks about valuing your internal customers i.e. your employees equally or sometimes higher than your external customers. Your role is to get the best out of them so that you can achieve your objectives. If your colleagues see that you value the contribution they bring to the team they are more likely to try harder and be loyal to you.
This is especially true when you are managing people who are older than you. Tell them that you need their knowledge and experience in developing the younger members of the team. Consider formally giving them this responsibility.
5. Remember That You Now Represent The Management Team
This means that you need to be aware that you may need to alter certain behaviours in front of your team. If you disagree with something the organisation is doing, think carefully about how you express this and whether you should express this at all. Think of the consequences of your actions on the rest of the company.
We hope this has been useful and we will be delighted to hear how you get on. We just love to hear and also learn from managers, particularly the funny and challenging situations you face. One final tip, try to have fun while learning your skills as a manager as this will often determine what team you end up with.
Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training
(Image by Renjith Krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)