For most of your working life you have been an individual contributor and now you have accepted a manager position. Congratulations! This time of excitement can also bring a little bit of anxiety, worries of being unqualified, and even decision paralysis. How exactly do I do this?!
Before you let it get the best of you, take a minute to breathe, plan ahead, and organize your leadership philosophy. Good management and people leadership is definitely one of those things that is ‘easier said than done,’ but here is a quick-start guide:
Take a minute and look back. It is very likely that over the years, you’ve had many ideas on how to do things differently, what your boss was doing wrong, and how you would change things. These are valuable ideas. It is so ironic that now when you actually have the power, your mind goes blank. To get started ask yourself these questions:
One way to look at your new responsibility as a manager: your job is to do as little “work” as possible. If someone else can do it, delegate it. Set habits and guidelines around assigning work, checking in, and following-up. Be consistent. This will help you ensure you are delegating enough and avoiding micromanaging. Continue to plan, set goals, and organize priorities, but stay at the big picture level.
Strategy is what you will do and philosophy is how you will do it. Both are important to share with your team right away. First, identify goals and priorities. Write up a high-level strategic plan and share it with your manager. Then share it with your staff and ask for input. Ask them to participate in filling in the details.
Similarly, create a document that outlines your leadership philosophy, especially if you are an introvert and writing things down helps you process information better. Then get together with your team to discuss.
Discussing philosophy and strategy is great starting point for going over expectations. You may even want to openly discuss your leadership style as compared to the previous manager. Have a dialogue about how each member on your team what works, what doesn't, what works best, and what they need from you.