New managers often struggle when they are put into a leadership position for the first time. Managing, inspiring, and leading a team takes practice like anything else. Effective training for new managers can help lessen the learning curve and jump-start careers.
What Is Leadership?
Leadership is the ability to create a vision, communicate it with others, and get them to buy into that vision. How you communicate, motivate, and get others to work as a team will dictate how successful you are as a manager and as a leader.
Leadership vs Management
Leaders develop the overall vision and strategies to fulfil that vision. Managers are charged with the planning, budgeting, and implementation of those strategies. Management Consultant Peter Drucker perhaps said it best: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
For new managers, it’s not about bossing people around. It’s about doing the right things to get the job done and motivating others to commit to the overall goal. It is the leadership qualities that define good management.
As A Manager, Be More Of A Leader
Managers get their authority by virtue of their position. Leaders command their authority by the way they lead. In sports, the coach has the authority over the team by the simple fact that he or she has been hired for the job and entrusted with the responsibility. Leadership, however, can come from the coach, from the players themselves, or even the fan base.
Developing A Team Vision
There are really two steps to developing a team vision. The first is painting the picture for your team of the end goal. The second part is defining the journey. You need to articulate the steps your team needs to take to get to the end goal.
You need to be able to clearly articulate the goal and stops along the way. The goals and steps need to be realistic and achievable. Individuals need to know how they contribute to reaching that goal and what they get from realising the team goals.
Conducting Difficult Conversations
Sooner or later, you will need to have a difficult conversation with a team member. Whether they are not performing up to expectations, dealing with a grievance, or conducting feedback sessions, new managers can be intimidated by the process.
Few, if any, people like conflict. New managers often procrastinate when dealing with difficult conversations and hope situations will resolve themselves. This rarely happens. Unaddressed problems usually remain and sometimes grow. Not addressing situations can negatively impact the individual, other team members, and the organisation as a whole.
Managing conflict in a way that leads to positive results is a critical skill for managers.
Assertive Communication Techniques
Some new managers will be overly aggressive in dealing with team members. Ordering them around, yelling at them, and publicly pointing out the flaws will never lead to motivated employees.
Other new managers will struggle to lead their team because they want to avoid conflict and difficult situations. This is common especially when a team member is promoted and now has to manage their colleagues.
Being too passive or too aggressive can get in the way of good communication. Assertive communication techniques can solve both areas of concern.
Being assertive is different from being aggressive. Stand up for what you believe and effectively communicate these beliefs to others in a respectful manner and you will earn respect. It is a diplomatic style of communication. You are clearly stating what you believe while demonstrating others have rights and beliefs as well. It is not just what you say, but how you say it.
People will rally around big ideas that are challenging and difficult if they believe in the underlying mission. It’s important to communicate “the why” and not just “the what” that needs to get done. Communicating a meaningful purpose motivates others.
Managers and leaders need to recognize that different employees and team members will have different motivational drivers. For owners and Executives, the driver may be profitability and bonuses. Employees that don’t share in a financial incentive when the company is highly profitable won’t be motivated by hitting budget numbers. It’s important to understand the different motivational factors that give jobs a sense of purpose.
McKinsey research identified fourkey motivational drivers for teams:
- Societal triggers
EXAMPLE: Connecting how your company is playing a key role in improving society, building the future, or being a good steward of resources. In other words, how we are serving the greater good.
- Customer triggers
EXAMPLE: How our products or services make life easier for those using them.
- Team triggers
EXAMPLE: Creating a sense of team spirit, of belonging and caring, and working together
- Personal triggers
EXAMPLE: Bonuses, incentives, career advancement, and personal development
Different individuals and teams may need different motivations. It is not important which trigger you choose, but it is critical you identify the right trigger for each team and team member.
Leadership Training Can Help New Managers
Leadership skills can develop with time and experience, but they are rarely – if ever – innate. Training can accelerate learning for new and experienced managers
Leadership training and coaching can help new managers learn the skills they need to provide effective leadership. Emerging leaders can learn what makes a good manager, effective management techniques, and effective leadership.
This way they can hit the ground running, seamlessly beginning their new career phase as a manager and miss completely the six-month feeling out period most new leaders go through. Teams respond faster to a new manager who knows their business, who exudes confidence, who sets processes in place from day one. When this happens there is no drop in revenue, no teething issues and the new leader will earn the respect of his team far more quickly.