4 MUST Knows About Being a New Manager
What are the most daunting challenges you can face as a developing leader?
- taking a step up to lead a team of individuals who are more experienced than you, or
- to lead a functional area you have limited, or no, exposure to
And the even bigger challenge?
That both scenarios are generally what faces a new manager – either in being promoted above ‘peers’, or moved into another team to provide leadership.
In both situations, those who need to be ‘led’, may have negative perceptions about your skill set, causing lack of trust and respect, and ultimately, inhibiting success.
Therefore, to be successful, it’s important that as a new finance leader, you are aware of the obstacles you may face. Even more importantly – that you use that awareness to shape your path to success and continued progression.
Earn respect – overcome any ‘lack’ of experience by remaining true to who you are, and what you know
First, ask yourself why these negative perceptions could arise. Research tells us that there are a number of themes surrounding more inexperienced leaders: lack of trust, lack of experience and depth of knowledge, not being seen as role models and not being capable of strategic vision or representing the organisation effectively. By ensuring you do not make singlehanded or poorly considered decisions on areas outside of your niche, reigning in the temptation to make promises you cannot keep, and leveraging the expertise of more established or expert staff in your team, you are less likely to encourage this type of thinking.
Know that you don’t know it all – continue to learn, be humble, and be mentored
You’ve been promoted, but don’t let it go to your head. Just as importantly as focusing on your strengths in order to build trust and prove to your team why you have been selected as a leader, you must actively work on your weaknesses. Focusing on any professional development opportunities, either in-house or externally, that can support you to improve in these areas will really assist, and rally support from team members or stakeholders that were initially dismissive of your leadership potential.
There is no ‘one’ way to manage – understand everyone has a unique set of priorities and motivators
One of the biggest disconnects between new leaders and their teams is a perceived insensitivity to other’s needs or priorities, usually because of a belief everyone can be managed in the same way. You may think nothing of a hard-line attitude to deadlines, but your team might. Taking the time to consider the impact of your expectations and beliefs on other members of your team is key to creating a united team or stakeholder environment, that does move towards the same goals.
It’s OK to want to change things – just do it at the right pace
One immediate benefit that you can extract from being a ‘new’ leader is the perception others will have that your leadership on its own – without doing anything – is a challenge to the status quo. As a ‘new’ force, maximise that creative, disruptive energy to drive positive change. Communicate clearly and in terms of shared purpose and benefits – keep your passion alive and instil it in others around you through your energy and enthusiasm. Just don’t get carried away, remember to observe before acting, and ensure your pace of change is suitable to your team culture and environment.
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