An individual contributor or professional getting promoted into his or her first formal leadership position in an organization is one of the biggest and most difficult transitions for any leader. Far too often, the leader and the organization take for granted just how difficult that transition is.
And the numbers prove it: 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job according to their subordinates, 26% of first-time managers felt they were not ready to lead others to begin with, and almost 60% said they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role.
No wonder 50% of managers in organizations are ineffective. Their ineffectiveness may be the result of not realizing what they are getting themselves into when it comes to leading others, not being supported in their new leadership role, and not being given the opportunity for training and development early enough in their careers as leaders.
Think of the time and money that has to be spent on replacing these ineffective leaders, not to mention dealing with the low morale and disengagement of employees working under these ineffective leaders. This inevitably hurts your leadership pipeline and may eventually hurt your organization’s bottom line.
First-time managers have as much of a right for leadership development as others, but their voices, time and time again, go unheard. They want to do well but so often are struggling at making the transition from individual contributor or professional who does the work and does it well, to a leader who must continue to do the work and more importantly, leads others doing their work. Many first-time managers feel that no one understands what they are going through.
So what can you do to help?
Here’s a simple and doable solution: Understand the struggles first-time managers have and help them overcome the challenges relevant to their new leadership role.
This white paper backs the effort by:
Presenting the 12 challenges first-time managers have, as found by researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) and Davidson College.
Specifically providing detail with the three most-often mentioned challenges:
Adjustment To People Management/ Displaying Authority
Developing Managerial & Personal Effectiveness
Leading Team Achievement
Offering ways for you to help first-time managers effectively deal with these challenges.
The information from this white paper will help you understand the perspective of first-time managers and the struggles they have. You can use the information to support first-time managers
in the most difficult transition they have made so far in their careers, develop them as leaders, and ultimately, strengthen your leadership pipeline.
“As my role transitions from one where I was responsible for my own work as a chemist to now being responsible for leading a team of chemists (in addition to finishing out the current project which I started previously) I find myself lacking the internal tools to effectively do my job. Before I was a good-to-excellent chemist. Now I am an OK chemist and OK manager. Further, many of the attributes which gained me recognition as a chemist are now hampering me as a manager.”
This is what it feels like to be leading other people for the first time in your life in organizations. These quotes from first-time managers (FTMs) give you a glimpse into the difficulties, struggles, and challenges that FTMs face every single day. Their technical savvy, the stuff that helped them get that promotion to management in the first place, won’t fix everything anymore. They can’t concentrate solely on their own work anymore. Now, they are the boss. Now, they have to understand, motivate, and meet the needs of others, many of whom they worked alongside with previously. And these difficulties, struggles, and challenges are not from just a few people.
Many FTMs are part of the largest population of leaders in your organization right now: frontline managers in entry- or first-levels of management. FTMs are your next generation of leaders, the pipeline for the top leadership positions of your organization, and represent the leadership bench strength of your organization. Clearly they are an organizational imperative to success. Yet, the numbers suggest they aren’t treated that way.
We’ve all heard the phrase “Pay it forward”, haven’t we?
We’re all busy with jobs and families therefore sometimes we don’t have time to “pay it forward” in a big way.
But paying it forward doesn’t have to be something big! As leaders in the workplace and in our communities, it’s the little things in our days that we can do to take the initiative to encourage those we interact with on a daily basis to make a difference. Our acts of encouragement, big or small, can have a profound impact on the people in our lives.
Our actions often speak louder than our words so thinking about how you can encourage someone else, such as offering someone your place in line or simply opening the door for someone, are small acts that not only make others you encounter feel better but make YOU feel better also.
Five easy ways how we can encourage others:
Be specific when praising someone to make it credible, such as “You really did an awesome job organizing the recent XYZ Project.
Mail a handwritten note with words of encouragement or send flowers to show you are thinking of someone even when they’re not around.
If someone is discouraged, offer specific, practical help, such as “Would it help if I….”
Take time to learn the things – words and actions – that make those you care about feel appreciated.
Challenge and encourage someone specifically. For example, tell them, “You should go after that new position, I think you would be really good at it.”
Seems pretty simple, right? Try “Paying it forward” at least once a day for the next week. And then notice how others return the encouragement to you. What a great “Pay it Forward” cycle you’ve now created!
Courtesy of Printer’s Press
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams
We are excited to be a part of Ignite the Leader Within Summit!
From February 13 – February 26, you are invited to participate in this online training summit to learn how to become a better leader, improve team performance and boost your profits from 30+ International Leadership experts!
Once registered, mark your calendar to listen to our very own Robyn Marcotte’s interview on February 23 with her presenting her biggest Aha! moment as a leader and how she continues to improve her leadership strengths.
Don’t have time to listen to the online summit, but still interested in learning more? You can order Ignite Your Leadership: Proven Tools for Leaders to Energize Teams, Fuel Momentum, and Accelerate Results by clicking here.
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” –Douglas MacArthur
Like any skill, the ability to lead successfully has to be developed and nurtured. First-time managers, especially those with little or no training, may find it counterintuitive that the “script” they’ve relied upon until now – “My skills, my talents, and my technical knowledge have led to my success” – is no longer their ticket to success as new leaders.
In fact, sticking to the same script will actually make them less effective.
Instead, new leaders must “flip their script” in the way they think and act in these 5 Key Areas:
1. Start learning like a leader
Center for Creative Leadership faculty member William Gentry, author of Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For, explains that successful first-time managers are able to flip their mindset from “being a great individual contributor” to “being a team leader who motivates others to succeed.”
Gentry’s research found that such leaders tend to have a more open approach to learning than those stuck in the individual contributor mindset.
“Their motivation to learn because it was fun, exciting, and engaging…far outweighed their motivation to learn because it would bring them rewards, recognition, and would impress others.” Gentry even found that effective new leaders talked to themselves differently, using second-person pronouns (you and your) and not first-person pronouns (I, me, and my).
An old script might read, “I’ve never been a manager before. How can I possibly do this?”
A more constructive inner dialogue for effective new managers is: “You have the ability to learn about leading others. You can be a great boss.”
2. Build skills for team success.
According to Gentry’s research, effective leaders are those who make the flip from the skill set that has worked for them in the past to learning new skills crucial to managing others:
Communicating with others the way they want to be communicated with
Influencing others to move work forward and gain support for their decisions
Building and leading teams successfully
Developing others’ skills by assigning them challenging tasks and providing ongoing feedback
In Gentry’s research, leaders who relied solely on the technical expertise that landed them their promotion were unsuccessful in their new leadership role.
3. Delegate — don’t do it all.
Productive leaders drive team results by delegating tasks. They set goals for their team members, and they give positive and negative feedback to help them develop.
“Do it all” bosses who haven’t flipped their script still define themselves by the amount of work they alone do.
By not delegating, they convey the message that they don’t trust their team to do a good job. Team members stagnate, productivity slows, and the company suffers.
4. See the bigger picture.
New leaders face an abrupt change of perspective, from “outsider” to “insider” when it comes to company politics. In his book, Gentry explains that first-time managers who accept politics as a necessary part of the big picture tend to be more productive and satisfied with their jobs.
They work with the system by:
gathering information about the thoughts, behaviors, and needs of coworkers and stakeholders
observing what is appropriate behavior for each situation and acting on that
connecting genuinely with a diverse group of people to build support for their team’s and stakeholders’ goals and gain new information
New leaders who don’t expand their perspective will likely view politics as a chore and won’t garner any of the benefits.
5. Focus on what’s “right,” not what’s easy.
With leadership comes responsibility — to always act on what is “right,” rather than what’s easy or self-serving. Strong leaders have flipped their focus from themselves to how their actions could affect their team, the organization, and everyone involved.
Developing integrity takes time and practice. Gentry advises:
When making important decisions, ask, “What would Mom or (important others in your life) think about this?”
Be honest about what you can and cannot do — and when you can deliver.
Don’t let a relationship, time pressure, or monetary rewards cloud your judgment; take yourself out of the equation to fully understand the consequences of any decision.
New leaders who focus on integrity build trusting relationships with their team and are more likely to enjoy long-term success.
Courtesy of Center for Creative Leadership
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Are diligently sticking to them? (Or do you already need a nudge…)
We do encourage you to seriously consider the “new year, new me” mindset to all aspects of your life.
“One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of inner growth and empowerment.” – Robert E. Quinn
It’s important to have goals for your personal life, fitness, family, and finances and it’s also important to rededicate yourself professionally in the New Year.
1. Reflect on Your Habits 2. Set Goals 3. Ask for Feedback 4. Evaluate on a Regular Basis
This is the time to audit yourself and make steps to become your personal best this year. Take this seriously, follow these 4 key steps and you will be off to a great new start!
Reflect on Your Habits
Be your own critic and go through your typical schedule, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, and identify areas of strength and weakness. Maybe you come in Monday mornings feeling ready for the week, but by Thursday you’ve hit a slump. Try to brainstorm ideas on how to help yourself when you’re feeling unproductive, such as treating yourself to a latte, taking a break and stretching, or creating a small, but manageable to-do list to get yourself pumped up for other tasks.
Read through your emails. Are you getting lazy about replying, not reading the whole way through a message, or replying with vague or easily-misinterpreted wording? Commit to better communication this year.
Be kind to yourself and take note of things you do well. If keeping Post-it reminders on the wall helps you stay organized, commit to continuing that habit this year. Maybe you see yourself as the motivator of your team. Give yourself a pat on the back for being such a good team player and keep it up. Although self-criticism is necessary for improvement, so is self-kindness.
Realistic, measurable goals are essential to making a change in the workplace. The formula for writing a goal should include what you want to achieve, a quantification, and a time period. For example, if you want to contribute to your company blog more often, your goal might be to write one entry for the company blog every other week.
After you’ve solidified your goals, save a list of them on your computer for safekeeping; also write them down and display them in a visible place so you can reflect on them daily. Identify small steps you can take each day to achieve your goals so you are always moving forward.
Ask for Feedback
When you have identified your strengths and weaknesses and set goals, ask your supervisor if you can meet to discuss your objectives for the coming year. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses, and explain how your goals will help you focus on the kind of worker you want to be.
Your supervisor may have comments and suggestions, so be sure to keep those thoughts in mind. Remember though–these are your personal goals, not anyone else’s.
Evaluate on a Regular Basis
Once you have set your focus for the new year, you need to periodically evaluate yourself to see if you are on the right path. Every other month, carefully read through your goals as a reminder. Maybe you’re doing really well with one and need to make it a little harder, but another goal needs some adjusting because it is too far out of reach.
It’s okay to edit your goals as long as you leave yourself something realistic to strive for. Evaluation is essential because it shows growth and helps you determine a direction for the future.
Courtesy of Emily Moorehead – www.AllBusiness.com
“Success is…knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.” – John Maxwell