Thinking about moving up to the next level professionally? If that includes managing a team more formally, congratulations on stepping up to the plate!
Whether you’re already managing people or eyeing the pay bump, stepping into a role of overseeing other people’s work can be exciting, yet slightly terrifying. Suddenly you’re responsible for other people delivering top notch work, and the ever evolving office conflicts.
Despite these tradeoffs, working with a team has many benefits. You instantly become aware of how precious your time is, and become equally reliant on your team as you are about your own work. If you’re feeling a bit nervous on where to start, here are 4 skills to have to hit the ground running as a people manager.
Setting expectations: Most times conflict arises because of a lack of communication. Even shy new managers need to overcome assuming that they know what’s being communicated. Practice the repeat-back method to ensure the message was delivered clearly. Practice clarifying expectations for final deliverables with your reports, active listening is crucial.
Providing feedback: You don’t have to wait for the annual review to check-in with your employees about what is working and areas of growth. Providing relevant feedback and perspective on the employee’s work is a great tool to keep morale and productivity. Your employees will want to know how they are performing and how they are perceived. Whether you are providing positive or negative feedback, focus on actions and different ways to improve a lackluster performance.
Team Building: Focusing on team building exercises is a great way to engage your employees and to understand each others’ strengths, weaknesses and challenges. It also improves collaboration and creativity which in turns creates a more engaging team culture. From brown bag lunches to retreats, there's a myriad of team bonding activities that can be implemented. The most fundamental as a manager is to talk to your employees daily about their lives. Daily interaction makes employees feel like you care.
Conflict resolution: Conflict is natural and to be expected. When you have a team of people with different goals, education and backgrounds conflict is bound to arise. However, this is a good growth opportunity as opposed to something to be avoided. Identify the conflicting parties, allow for space to express their views, decide on what’s working, common ground and a way forward. Avoid blaming or focusing on the past or individual personalities. Stay grounded on the actions and schedule time for a future meeting to check-in on how things are going. If the outcome is favorable, great! If not, then enlisting the help of a neutral mediator or disciplinary action may follow.
Again, congratulations on stepping up to take on new responsibilities. It's not easy, but with constant communication, feedback, and knowledge building you're going to be an amazing manager who will inspire others to do their best!