Here are seven things you must do right away to give yourself the best possible start in your new professional trajectory.
1. Read: Or watch or listen, but do one thing every day that helps you learn something new. If it is about your industry, even better. A well-informed leader is one who is never caught unawares. Most CEOs list their top favourite books of all time. You can either pick up that reading list or create one for yourself. You have never-before access to the thoughts and ideas of young leaders across the world. Draw inspiration from their words, speeches, and actions.
2. Look for a guide: Many people underestimate the power of a good mentor. Someone with more experience, and no vested interests in your success or failure, is the best person you will ever find to fix the many new mistakes you will now make. Find a mentor, and nurture that relationship the way you would your family.
3. Focus on your team: As a manager, it isn’t just about you anymore. If you fail, you fail with your team and if you succeed, you succeed because of them. Be sure to acknowledge their role in everything you do at work. Don’t reserve praise or negative feedback. Find ways by which your team can also grow in their professional life.
4. Use your ears more: Aren’t we all guilty of talking too much and listening too little? As a leader, you cannot do that anymore. For one, everyone else is listening to what you say, so you’d want to be extra careful. Also, when you listen to any and all opinions, you have a chance to broaden your own perspective.
5. Grow into your new role: When promoted from within a team, many new managers struggle to either be likeable by those they now supervise, or go out of their way to establish law and order. Needless to say, these approaches fail. What’s more, your job is not to be liked or hated, so get yourself out of the picture. Your job is to ensure everyone else does their job. Don't try to rock the boat just to show you have arrived. As Harvard Business School professor Peter Bregman advises, 'Don't write a book, write a page...Don't expect to be a great manager in your first six months, just try to set expectations well.'
6. Behave better: It isn’t good enough anymore to be late for meetings, linger around after lunch or badmouth anyone who is a superior. All of these things will have to change. Your team is going to look to you to provide direction, and the first thing they’ll do is emulate exactly what you are up to.
7. Make your supervisor an ally: With new roles come new supervisors. Make the effort to get to know them well. Report to them diligently and in time. If there’s a fire to be put out, alert them before the house burns down. Even as a manager, your responsibilities towards your immediate supervisor remain almost the same- only the deliverables and metrics change.
Sounds like a bit too much? Well, rest assured that if you find yourself as a manager, it is because you already have the core skills you need to succeed. By plugging the gaps in your own style of work, you’ll go places.
Here's a great read for anyone moving into a new role, assignment or team.