Being an effective manager is a skill you should never stop improving. It's a privilege and a vital part of any successful business. Typically, people are granted a position to manage others based on their performance, work ethic, and ability to help others both directly and indirectly. The first time you become a manager it can be both positive and overwhelming. Management requires skills across a wide variety of areas; especially soft skills such as communication, coaching and listening.
Whether you are just starting out, or a veteran manager with years under your belt, here are 7 tips for management success to keep in mind on day 1 and beyond:
Understand the Business
You need to be prepared to address questions from your direct reports that support the larger state of the company. This can be anything from strategy, to cultural and HR issues. Most importantly, have a good understanding of the financial aspects of the business to set adequate goals with your team. You need to be aware of what's going on across all facets of the business to make informed decisions and provide direction.
Get to Know Your Employees
Individual time with your direct reports is important for their success and career development. Set up regular one-on-one check-ins and make them a priority. Take this time to get to know their career goals, strengths and weaknesses, and keep an open conversation about their metrics. Use this time to build a foundation of trust – it's a win-win for both of you.
Stay in the Trenches
It's most likely you were promoted to a management role in part because you worked hard and achieved a certain level of success. Now that you're a manager, it doesn't necessarily mean you should pass on all the "dirty work" that played an instrumental role in your success. Your responsibilities have changed, but at the end of the day the success of the business is what matters. Continuing your methods is a strong characteristic that others, especially your direct reports, will continue to respect.
Understand the Importance of Delegation
It's important to find a balance between knowing all the details and focusing on the bigger picture. To do this, rely on effective delegation. While you need to keep an understanding of what's going on, the truth is, with additional responsibilities you cannot be everywhere at once. Foster an environment that allows you to actively rely on your team to contribute freely Be clear on expectations and stress the importance of each opportunity for their career. This will also allow your team to grow their own abilities and leadership skills.
Remember: You are the Example
It's inevitable that all businesses go through cyclical ups and downs. Whether that’s with clients, or internal personnel, people look to the top when they need inspiration on how to act. You set the tone for others in terms of the values you prioritize, how you handle adversity, and your perseverance through tough challenges. Lead by example to set the pace for your expectations – and recognize others who are doing the same.
Find a Mentor
One of the first things you should do after taking on a management role is finding someone you can go to when you need support. Ideally, find someone who has experience handling many types of situations and with a management style you aspire to achieve. This doesn't necessarily need to be within your company – dig into the network of people you've worked with in the past. Chances are, those people would be glad to offer their advice.
Another quality that likely landed you a management role is consistency. Don't let that change now that you're in a new position. Once you change how you make decisions, or go back on your word, your team will begin to lose trust in your ability to lead. Don't be afraid to take some extra time to think through all your decisions.
Above all, the most important aspect of management success is being a person that others want to follow. Every action, small decision, and piece of advices plays a role in determining if people will want to follow you. Use these tips to be the successful manager you aspire to be.