Where are you currently in your career pathway? Are you in a new management / leadership role and figuring your way? Have you been a star performer accountable for your results only but are now having to manage others?
Here are seven tips that may help managers in transition.
1) Make time for reflection.
It is very easy for us all to get sucked into the never-ending, tactical demands of the day. Make time and have a process to help you engage in some form of reflective practice. Your extra value comes from the quality strategic insights you will gain through this process, which you may not otherwise.
2) Listen to and act on feedback
Ask, be open to and listen to feedback. Have you had a 360-degree lately? How do you react to ‘negative’ feedback? Watch the tendency to minimise, brush off or blame the feedback provider. They are giving you the gift of self-awareness.
3) Have more courageous conversations
A tendency here for the conflict-avoidant manager is to ignore issues and hope that they will go away. In reality, the opposite is true! What isn’t dealt with merely festers and gets bigger.
Conversely, when your people see that you are able to have those difficult conversations, their respect for you goes up. They see you role modeling your core values which form the culture of your business – be it respect, transparency or integrity.
4) Coach, develop and mentor your people
Know your direct reports strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. Coach them in managing their areas for development. Some of the best coaching conversations happen soon after an incident and sometimes can take less than five minutes! As a manager,look out for those “coaching moments”rather than wait for the more formal review months later.
Build effective and mutually supportive relationships. The time to build your network isn’t when you need one. Think about not just how this person might be able to help you and what you can get from them but also how you may be able to help them.
A lot of innovative ideas come from talking with people who may be doing business differently from you and come from a totally different industry. Be a life-long learner.
6) Build a strong team with high morale
Develop a strong sense of shared purpose, vision and values that people are aligned with. Have conversations that encourage your people to be clear about their vision and values and look to identify people living this. Ask often – what are we doing here and why are we doing it? The team members need to be clear about their role and how it fits into the bigger picture.
7) Keep a sense of balance, poise and perspective
The Centre for Creative Leadership research found that managers who didn’t career derail reflected the following characteristics – they maintained good composure under stress, handled mistakes with poise, were focused problem-solvers, had greater diversity in their career paths and were able to get along with all kinds of people.
Keep a healthy, fun and loving relationship with family and friends and most of all – be a good human being – which in turn will naturally lead to a being a good leader!