Lessons for first-time managers: how to drive your team to success
Published (updated: ) in Leadership and Soft Skills.
No book is going to have the perfect advice for each situation first-time managers face. Being a good manager is making good decisions with information on hand and following several guidelines that differ very bad managers from okay ones. In this post I’ve listed the 8 that I think is the most important:
1. Success of team members is your success. Don’t prevent anyone from growing in hopes to keep them on your team. Such behavior only irritates employees and causes them to leave even if they never planned it. After all, what would you do without your reports?
2. Build leaders within. Have leaders within a team manage projects or subgroups on their own. It’ll save you a ton of time and you’ll be able to focus on the more important stuff.
3. Use caution when promising rewards. Rewards shouldn’t replace real motivation. If the only thing keeping your team moving forward is rewards, the moment you take the rewards away your team stops. Reward them for great work, hard work, team accomplishments, and meeting goals. Don’t use rewards as a carrot on a stick just to get them to show up to work each day.
4. Be goal-focused. Create a clear set of short-term and long-term goals for the team. Help your team to set up personal goals tailored to them and aligned with the team goals simultaneously.
5. Balance team goals with organizational goals. A part of your job is to protect your domain from any outside storms like crunches or impossible requests. Making your team everyday work to become hell on Earth to earn a little more profit for the company is an easy way to lose the best employees.
6. Encourage innovation. Make it safe to be creative and help the team to brainstorm to find out-of-the-box solutions. Innovation both generates profits for the company and motivates your best employees.
7. Don’t let the team accumulate debt both technological and procedural. Delivering a new project without properly finishing the previous one is walking on thin ice. Eventually, you’ll have to face all the mess of the inventory you left behind to fix some issues or to build new projects on top and it’ll take 10x longer to understand what you were thinking at that time.
8. Set up guiding principles and policies. To avoid being called for favoritism, document the good and the bad and be fair to everyone.
First-time managers, don’t rush for books or Google when facing a challenge but gather information, think, and make decisions. They may not be the perfect ones but with time, you will become smarter than the book. Keep these 8 tips in mind and don’t let the routine fill all your time.