A Shift of Identity is Required to Navigate Underestimated Areas to Manage as a New Leader
New managers have a significant challenge ahead of them. To succeed in their new role, they must shift their identity from someone focused solely on their own performance to a leader who must focus on the performance of those under their supervision. They will now succeed by getting their work done through other people.
Four New Manager Transitions Required for Success
Based upon data from our people manager assessment center combined with decades of new manager training best practices, we know that effective new managers must conscientiously shift their thinking:
- From Understanding Yourself to Understanding Others
While high levels of self-awareness are a must for any leader, you need to understand more than your own preferred operating style in order to lead a high performing team. You must learn how to understand the preferences and behaviors of your team members so that you can develop situationally appropriate leadership tactics to help them perform at their peak.
Unfortunately, 54% of leaders use only one leadership style, regardless of the situation. Which means that half of the time, leaders are using the wrong leadership style to meet the needs of their people.
Do your new managers have the confidence and competence to meet people where they are?
- From Individual to Team Success
In a new people manager role, managers need to learn how to effectively delegate key tasks to others without micromanaging. By definition, new leaders can no longer handle the entire team’s work on their own. Effective new leaders quickly shift their mindset from delivering results toward delivering results while simultaneously developing others.
We know from our management training programs that this means effectively assigning tasks and setting team goals and accountabilities that take into account each individual’s unique strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and aspirations. This requires a growth mindset and a commitment to development, coaching, and constructive feedback.
Are your new managers ready and able to get work done through others?
- From a Renter to an Owner Mindset
In general, a “renter mindset” at work represents employees who view their career and deliverables as something that happens to them for the benefit of a paycheck. They do not feel a deep connection to their work or to the organization as whole. They have a “job” not a “career.”
Those with an “owner mindset” think, act, and work in the same ways you would expect from a dedicated and trusted company founder. They take full responsibility for outcomes, are constantly looking for ways to improve, and have the political work savvy to genuinely connect with a variety of influencers.
The best new managers help employees build meaningful ownership in the business and promote high levels of work transparency, feedback, and communication.
Do your new leaders encourage employees to think and act like caring owners rather than like hired hands?
- From a Technical to a Managerial Skillset
When we assess organizational cultures, most respondents highlight the relevance of technical skills for new managers for both credibility and to get promoted in the first place. The data was also very clear that simply having technical skills was not enough and is a major obstacle to successfully leading teams.
Without a doubt, new people managers can no longer rely on their technical and subject matter expertise to succeed. New team leaders must be able to:
– Set a clear strategic direction and a common course of action
– Define clear roles, responsibilities, scope, and interdependencies for everyone on the team
– Attract, develop, engage, and retain top talent
– Influence others to take effective action through the new manager skills of influencing, motivating, decision-making, problem-solving, communicating, and politicking
– Hold their teams accountable by developing common standards, defining team norms, and measuring performance
Can your new leaders create enough team clarity and cohesiveness with their direct reports?
The Bottom Line
New leaders have a remarkable opportunity to lead others to greater personal and professional heights. Are your new managers ready to do what it takes to make the shift from a high performing individual contributor to leading a successful team of others?
To learn more about how to navigate underestimated areas to manage as a new leader, download The Top 5 Traps to Avoid as a New Leader