CAREER TIPS-5 Ways New Managers Can Become Better Leaders
Many employees are promoted to a management position for their strength and ability to solve problems as well as improve task efficiencies. However, 45% of managers report never receiving formal management training to lead others and improve team efficiency or morale. Consequently, managers then lead from a place of what they know and how their own managers have led them. As a result, they continue archaic leadership practices that focus solely on hard skills and organizational output rather than building strong relationships and creating an inclusive and engaging team environment.
Here are five ways new managers can become better leaders to create an organization that thrives.
Learn To Trust Through Delegating
Managers often lack the trust to delegate tasks to their employees. More often than not, managers hold their team back with the mindset that they believe they can perform tasks better or it would take longer to train someone else how to do it. Therefore, they keep employees from taking on more responsibility. As a result, employees never grow to their fullest potential and the team is held back.
In order for managers to grow into leaders, they need to help their team flourish by being able to trust in their ability to work independently and carry out more responsibility. Doing so has various benefits such as boosted confidence, increased performance and further strengthening skills, to name a few.
Delegating is not only a great way to free up time to focus more on leading employees, but it also allows employees to find new and more efficient ways of doing things. While some managers may fear being outperformed by their own employees, Blake Sutton, senior electrical and software engineer at Electrical Knowledge, said “at the end of the day, a manager makes the difficult decisions that few people would like to make, and does so in a way that will lead to overall company growth, as well as setting an example for every other member of the team.” A team is only as strong as the weakest team member.
Rather than view employees as competition, managers should view the relationship as a partnership. Each individual in the partnership contributes different experiences, knowledge, perspectives and ideas to achieve a successful outcome. Furthermore, managers should make it a priority to celebrate the accomplishments of employees and create a healthy environment that celebrates both team and individual successes.
Build Health Leadership Habits That Employees Copy
Developing leadership skills means being self aware that there’s always room for improvement. There are a variety of ways to invest in leadership development such as working with a coach, attending conferences and seminars, getting certified, finding a mentor or reading development books, to name a few. It’s worth asking a direct manager or human resources to see what they currently offer in terms of investing in management development. Some companies offer a stipend while others work with a leadership coach.
Regardless if a company invests in your development, managers should take advantage of free or low cost learning opportunities. Likewise, if their own manager or someone in the company is someone they look up to in terms of embodying leadership skills, they should lean on them to further develop and build healthy leadership habits.
Development shouldn’t solely focus on one’s self but also the development of their individual employees as well as their team. Traditionally, managers focused only on the outcome of tasks and utilizing an employee’s current skillset to meet the company’s immediate needs. To become a better leader means prioritizing the development of the team and seeing where they can be challenged to expand their knowledge and get them where they want to go-career-wise. When assigning projects, managers should centre them around performance and development goals and set expectations for employees to meet that will help them grow.
Lead By Example By Dismantling The Hierarchy
Managers emulate what they see from their direct manager. Since 45% of managers never receive formal leadership training, they end up mimicking their current and past managers. This becomes problematic especially if they’ve only had managers that were outcome focused and exhibited toxic behaviors.
To become a better leader, it’s your responsibility to lead by example. Some ways of doing this include jumping in and doing the work of an associate to help out the team, eliminating favouritism to create an inclusive team environment and consistently communicating openly with the team as well as seeking and delivering feedback. It’s important to show employees you live up to your open-door policy by actively and frequently communicating that.
Understand The Art Of Communication
Understanding and embracing the art of communication is the true language of leadership. Communication isn’t just about speaking, it’s also about listening and taking action. It’s nearly impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator and listener. Leaders are those who take the time to effectively communicate and break down high level information into digestible and actionable tasks.
Communication should happen on a consistent basis. This should be in the form of one-on-one meetings, all-hands company meetings and check-in’s. Tino Jaimes, owner of Compramos Casas Rapido, recommended to “be clear about how each team members’ contribution adds to the success of the overall mission and acknowledge them for their part, often.” Once in a while, employees will have a lack of motivation towards their work. As the manager, part of your job is to bring that back up by encouraging and guiding them as well as recognizing their contributions.
Make Recognition A Goal
There are numerous benefits to recognizing excellent work with the most obvious impact being increased employee engagement. When employees are acknowledged for their contributions and performance, they’re more inclined to want to keep repeating that behavior. Therefore, it’s crucial to treat employees as a valued member of the team rather than just a number. David Weingot, owner of DMAC Security, said, “no matter how big or small those wins are, recognize them. That shows that you value each and everyone greatly, which will encourage them to do better always. Overall, that makes you a better leader.”
In fact, 79% of employees said they would be more loyal to their employer if they increased recognition. The same survey revealed, when employees aren’t recognized, they will proactively work against their manager and employer.
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