Getting a managerial position for the first time is rewarding and exciting. But it comes with challenges since many of them have risen through the ranks of a business but have never been trained to:
- Understand the team and it’s diversity
- Adopt a suitable management mindset and style
- Coach the team
- Managing former co-workers
According to the *Center for Creative Leadership, more than 25% of first-time managers said they were not ready to lead others and almost 60% of individuals said they never received learning opportunity when they started their first leadership role. This is why first-time manager learning program has to be planned and implemented so carefully. So what are the most important elements in the learning program?
Getting into a manager mindset
Transitioning from a “doer” to a “coach” requires a change in the mindset. Previously, as an individual contributor, their focus is personal goal and focus. When they become leaders, they should learn to put the team’s need before their own. Thinking like a manager, they should learn to appreciate the professional growth of the team since the leaders’ success will now be measured by the team performance.
Thus, first time managers should develop their self-awareness by building on their strengths. Instead of dwelling on their weaknesses, they should focus on fixing them. At the same time, they should learn to celebrate their successes and taking small steps towards achieving significant objects by adapting growth-oriented habits. Coaching and mentoring will help in building the new mindset.
Managing up and managing down
First time managers will always have the wrong assumption that a manager has the autonomy to do what they think is best for the department or company. They will focus on the power that comes along with the title. However, the reality is, they are now in a sandwich position where they have a boss and a team. Their job is no longer to get their own things done but to lead a group to reach a goal together and at the same time meeting the management expectations.
So they need to learn how to balance these roles and relationships by truly understanding the job requirement of the boss so they can effectively contribute to their successes and at the same time, their subordinates will know how to build up their own skills.
Remember, the most effective employees create value for themselves, their bosses, their direct reports as well as the company. They should learn to strike a balance between managing up and down by becoming a genuine source of assistance and creating the most value for each of their working partner. Not just do thing right, but do things well.
Connection not Delegation
First-time managers should also change the misconception to control over their subordinates and the thinking that people “have to” listen to them because they are the boss. They should learn to coach by trust and respect. Once the team believe in their new boss, they will have a sense of belonging and commitment. Employees will strive to success not because of what they are told but the buy-in of the leader’s vision and capability.
To achieve effective connection, first time managers need to facilitate good communication among the team and ensure that their expectations are clearly identified. This includes:
· Setting specific targets and deadlines
· To explain the rationale when providing directions to the subordinates and explain the impacts of their work or overall results
There are also well-known personality profiling tools for example, MBTI®, TetraMap®, DiSC®, Reiss Motivation Profile® to know more about themselves and others.
Soft skill > Hard skill
Hard skills and ability help first-time mangers to be promoted into the new position. Thus their subordinates will trust their direction and expertise. However, what matters now is no longer the hard skills but the soft skills to help team members build up their own expertise. Employees don’t need a saviour to make them survive in the company, they want to learn and grow and be recognised. The followings are some most important soft skills they’ll need to adapt:
· Interpersonal skills
· Growth mindset
· Goal setting
· Consistency and reliability
· Empathy and sensitivity
· Conflict resolution
Being a first-time manager is never easy. People have high expectation when it feels there are a million things to consider, to get done and to manage. Don’t let the fear of failure or uncertain consume them. On the contrary, let them learn to tame the change and embrace it. S/he will become stronger over time! Talk to us to know how to equip your first time managers!