First off, congratulations on your promotion or new position! You are now in charge of your friends and colleagues and even though this might seem great because they should all be happy and supportive right? After all, you are one of them, better an insider gets the job than an outsider.
Whilst some peers and colleagues may very well be genuinely happy for you and intend on supporting you, for others it starts to feel a tad bit different once you need to hand them tasks and targets with expected timelines. So prepare yourself for this change, the boundaries have shifted and it takes time for people to actually adjust to such changes. So how to handle this change without it all getting too awkward? I believe that the sooner you have a one on one session with each of them (for me an out of office session worked best) to discuss what this change represents and what they can expect from you, the better.
It’s important that they know that there will always be a line of communication available to them and if something isn’t working, you would rather hear it from them and you will do them the courtesy of doing the same. This is important to establish early on, as it will help to build or sustain the existing trust. Take advantage of this informal session to solicit their views and opinion on how things presently stand and the areas of opportunities they feel are currently untapped. This is to ensure that they feel involved in your strategy development. Remember people are more likely to execute flawlessly on a strategy that they buy into, than one that is just handed over to them, so once your strategy is in place, don’t just hand it over to the team, discuss it first. Your initial one on one with them will help you frame how to communicate the strategic direction and changes to come because you would already have some insights into their views as it were. The final decision is yours, but it is important to get their views and objections.
To be a good manager, you must learn to lead. The best way to lead in my view is not from the front, but side by side with the people you lead. There will come a time, when managerial duties, such as endless meetings, multiple strategy sessions and budget reviews will prevent you from spending as much time on execution, but not in the beginning. In the beginning, you must be right there with the team, doing exactly what you expect them to do. When they see you working just as hard as they are or even harder, you set an example and gain respect from those that count.
It won’t be easy at first, the urge to take over and do it yourself sometimes may come, but you must show that you trust the team by relinquishing some control, whilst still keeping a reasonable amount of it for yourself. Embrace the diversity within the team, as it will promote high engagement and fuel creativity. Own the failures and share the successes. If you develop, recognize and reward effectively, I have come to find that people will go above and beyond to get the job done right. This method has assisted my mentees to navigate their journey into management.
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Proficient and goal-driven Business Leader with over 15 years of experience in strategic and tactical business leadership, Josephine has worked across multiple business development disciplines in both large and small technology companies, as well as consulting for Start-ups and Small to Medium Enterprises. She provides coaching and mentorship to graduates as they prepare themselves to enter the workforce and is dedicated to advancing women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses. She is the General Manager Regional Operations, Lagos and South-West for MTN Nigeria Communication PLC, Nigeria’s leading Telecommunication provide