If you are stepping into a new role as a first-time appointed manager, don’t be surprised if your excitement about the job is quickly swapped with the feeling of utter confusion. You can tell the game is not the same, and you realize you’ll need a different set of skills to become an effective and brilliant player now, but can you really do it?
The worst thing you can do is give in to confusion and misjudge your role at the very beginning. They are paying you to lead now, so do it! It sounds very simple, right? Well, there are few things you should keep in mind to become efficient in your new role or, at least, to find out are you the managerial material after all.
These are the most common issues managers face, but not necessarily recognize immediately:
Lack of responsibility. When somebody supervises and manages the activities of a group of people, sets the objectives and monitors performance accordingly, we all assume such person must feel and be responsible for their actions and decisions, don’t we? In reality, this is often far from the truth. On one side, there are so many managers who seem afraid of facing challenging situations or challenging people, so they simply avoid them.
On the other side, we all know (or we’ve heard of) the bosses who find very “creative” ways to justify their mistakes and pin the responsibility to somebody else (read: employee). The first group of managers simply lack control over their work. This could be a deal-breaker if they don’t learn how to handle conflict, make and live with difficult decisions, and embrace the very core of management – accountability. So, embrace that control thing and make it your friend! As for the second group of managers, they are simply bad people, so avoid them at any cost.
Broken connection with employees. The (successful) relationship with employees is something you build. Constantly. It means you have to give them clear responsibilities, you should set realistic and measurable goals, and you must find time for giving feedback. And yes, exactly in that order. If any of these steps are missing, your relationship with your staff will probably be, to put it mildly, challenging and frustrating. They might feel like they are set up for failure most of the time, not enough heard and not enough appreciated.
Your reputation. Yes, you still have a boss, and you should take care of what message you are sending to the C-suite. You are being monitored how effectively you manage your team all the time, so if your boss is an exceptional person and leader, the simplest way to make yourself shine is to learn from him/her. If that is not the case and you have only a few good things to learn from your superior (or none), the bitter truth is that, no matter what you do or how you do it, you will probably never make him/her happy, so, I’m afraid, the only solution is to change the boss.
Mistakes might be a good thing if you always try to learn from them, and it’s not the end of the world if you admit you need some coaching, training or anything really that might help you improve your managerial skills. At the same time, if you make an effort to notice, think about and discuss your employees’ engagement and professional development, your connection with them could become more meaningful and productive. Consequently, this will send the right (and beneficial for you) message to the C-suite, and your boss will be sure you’re producing good work.
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