Congratulations! You've just been hired or promoted to management, which is a great career achievement. With this new position comes a lot of importance, as you're now directly responsible for more employees than just yourself. Don't worry – here are five bits of advice to help you succeed:
1. Grasp Your New Priorities
Now that you're a team leader, your objectives and key results should shift from what they once were. In fact, if they haven't, you should bring this oversight up with your boss.
"Thoroughly understand your new goals before directing your team."
Take time to thoroughly understand your new goals before directing your team members. Knowing what's expected of you and how your job aligns with the objectives of your employer allows you to make strong decisions regarding your staff.
2. Focus on Team Development and Success Will Follow
A large part of your new duties involves the success of your team. In fact, their performance is probably directly related to your OKRs. That said, the best way help your staff is to focus on their individual development, not on the win. By putting too much attention on end results, you miss valuable opportunities to help your staff become better, more efficient employees in the long term. Plus, improving your team has the added bonus of getting them more engaged at work.
3. Communicate Goals Clearly
Your team now looks to you for direction, so it's your job to communicate their assignments in a way they understand. A team that's unclear about what it's supposed to do ends up wasting time and energy pursuing the wrong things and asking for clarification. During meetings and when delegating tasks, always make sure your words are as specific as possible. Don't be afraid to ask your employees to repeat what you've said. Between meetings, use goal-setting software to accurately describe your team's objectives and key results.
4. Evaluate team members fairly
When it comes to evaluations, your employees deserve an equal playing ground regardless of their experience, skill set or tenure. Yet, it's all too easy to give favorable reviews to people you get along with and unsatisfactory ones to those with whom you disagree. A good way to keep evaluations fair is to abandon annual reviews in favor of ongoing performance management. Quarterly, monthly or bi-weekly check-ins all provide the opportunity to address matters in near-real time. The continuous feedback keeps your staff's accomplishments and missteps fresh in your mind. As a result, the comments and criticisms you make are more accurate and appropriate.
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5. Continue Your Own Improvement
Keeping your staff aligned and engaged is now a big priority, but don't forget to focus on your own development. If you do, you risk becoming unengaged yourself, which has a direct, negative impact on your team. As Gallup reported, managers influence at least 70 percent of their employee's levels of engagement. A strong manager leads to highly engaged employees, while a weak one leads to the opposite.
Your strength as a leader isn't completely tied to your personal and professional development, but it does weigh heavily on these factors. By compromising your own engagement, you jeopardize that of your staff. To be the best manager you can, seek opportunities to learn and advance your own career.