Last week I made a presentation to a group about increasing employee engagement and improving culture. At the end I opened up for questions. “A couple of us are first time managers – what advice would you give us?” Great question! Here are five things that I think first time managers would benefit from knowing.
1. Understand the difference between managing and leading. Many think that they mean the same thing, but there is a vast difference. The key is to understand that the challenge is that it’s not either / or, but that you must do both.
2. Be masterful at time management. This will allow you to be productive and efficient, thereby setting a good example for others, but most importantly, it will provide you with time to do the ‘leadership stuff’, which takes lots of time.
3. Choose leadership over likership. We all want to be liked, but it is important to understand that being a leader will mean that you are sometimes required to make decisions and take actions that will be unpopular. Click here for a previous short video on this.
4. Do what you say you are going to do. This will mean that you are reliable, and in turn build trust, which will help you build strong relationships. Leading others is all about relationships.
5. It’s not all about you. Leadership is about what you can do with and for others. It is about lifting their performance. You should be asking, “What can I do to help you do you job?”
Come to think of it, this advice isn’t only just for first time managers, but also for those of us that have been around the block a couple of times!