Succeeding as a First-Time Manager

pepper rutland_managementManagement is a natural progression for anyone who loves his or her job and has a knack for leadership. However, great managers are not born or developed overnight; even with a world of experience, knowing how to bring out and/or nurture the same skills in others is something that takes time and personal development. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first management role.

 

  1. Learn The Business
    There’s a major difference between knowing what the company does and how the company works. You may have some base-level knowledge of how things happen in the company, especially If you’re being promoted into a new role within the same organization, but as a manager, you must also consider the business side of things. That means, the company’s financials, procedures, bureaucracy and how your position, department and subordinates fit into that puzzle.
  2. Ask Questions
    Which brings us to our next major tip: ask questions. This is probably the best but most overlooked part of managing. After all, you’re expected to know everything, right? Wrong. Don’t be afraid to admit blind spots. They’re okay as long you’re making an effort to improve on them. This is particularly helpful for people transitioning to a new company altogether.
  3. Lead By Example
    People will look to you for guidance on how to respond to problems and how to react in times of uncertainty. Make sure you’re sending the right message to your team at all times, and creating a relationship in which they trust your choices and are willing to heed your advice and direction.
  4. Be Yourself
    Your management style or approach doesn’t have to be like someone else’s, nor should you wait for directives on how to get things done. If you have a good idea, take initiative, try things out, and learn whether it works or how you can do things better going forward. This is how you improve.
  5. Be Easy on Yourself
    This cannot be overstated. No one is perfect. In working to get there, show yourself mercy and allow room for mistakes. Doing anything for the first-time is not likely to be easy, but challenges are necessary. Balance the bad with the good, and when criticizing yourself, highlight both. You may find that you’re doing better than you think.

4 Reasons Why People Love Where They Work

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Last month I highlighted MMR’s inclusion in the Baton Rouge Business Report as one of the best places to work in the city. The decision was made based on a combination of MMR’s answers to a questionnaire about workplace policies and demographics, and our employees’ own details about their satisfaction within the company. I decided to write this blog to share a few tips about why employees may consider your company a great place to work.

Employees enjoy love where they work when:

  1. The Company Has a Clear Vision
    People want their work to have a purpose. Employees, at every level, want to be aware of the company’s objectives, its plans for future growth and how their own efforts fit into the larger picture. Obviously not every detail is appropriate to share, and certain pieces of information may be reserved for small groups within the company rather than the entire organization. When possible, however, make a point to communicate the company’s vision and when it reaches certain goals to which the people of the company have contributed.
  1. Their Voices Are Heard
    Many times, ideas for how your company can improve, whether in practice or the offering of your product, are right in house. Your employees are a great resource because they are capable, knowledgeable, and have a stake in your company being successful. Open door policies are great if you can do them; if you don’t have the time, be sure ti designate someone who can receive and share those comments and concerns with you, then respond personally to let your employees know you’re listening.
  1. They Are Valued
    In that same regard, employees want to feel like they mean something to the company. The truth is, they mean a lot to the company, regardless of their title. Everyone has a part to play which enables the rest of the team to focus on their own responsibilities. You show that you value your employees in many ways, such as: providing fair wages and great benefits, listening, celebrating success together, and offering opportunities to advance, as a start.
  2. They Like The Leadership
    Lastly, but not the least important, people love where they work when they like who they work for. As a leader, people look at how you interact with them and others in the company. They take stock of whether you exemplify strong, clear leadership and your response to situations under pressure. Each of these factors affects how they see you, and ultimately determines how they see the company. Be cognizant of that representation and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.

How To Find Your Leadership Style

head-1169901_960_720In another blog, I highlighted various qualities a leader should possess, including: proactivity, attentiveness, imagination, focus, and continued development. Each of these are important, as I’ve learned from my own experience, and I hope it provided valuable insight about what it takes to properly manage a company. However, while these qualities are necessary, it’s important to realize that all leaders are not the same.

 

In fact, there are at least five different styles of leadership, each of which has its place and is often contingent upon the leader’s personality and initial exposure to certain style. Still, learning the differences in each can help managers create a more definitive style and even learn to adapt when appropriate.

 

Different Styles

  1. Democratic
    As the name suggests, democratic leaders use the input from their teams to make decisions about processes and procedures. This type of leader makes an effort to ensure that everyone has a say and that each voice is heard. As a note, this type of leadership can be time consuming, especially if one has a large team. Nevertheless, it works well in places where change is expected or a normal part of the given process, in which a better or different way of doing things can be enhanced by new opinions.

  2. Autocratic
    Conversely, autocratic leadership creates the rules and makes decisions before bringing it to the team. These types of leaders tend to have more experience and a better understanding what is necessary to meet the end goal, thus giving the leader greater autonomy in making choices. This style is best when decisions must be made in a time crunch and when those on the team lack the understanding to make an informed decision on the subject at hand.

  3. Pacesetting
    These leaders set high expectations for their team members, desiring quick turnarounds on large projects. They are willing to put in the same effort and provide examples for, or even work alongside, the team. This level of leadership works when used sparingly and with skilled members of a team.

  4. Transactional
    This style of leadership, also called coercive or commanding, is most likened to a military style of management, in which the leader expects team members to simply do what they are told. This leadership style is said to be most common but least effective in maximizing productivity and/or creativity from team members.

 

As I said above, each of these styles has its place, and no one style is always best. Assess the characteristics of your team and your environment to determine when and how to employ these leadership roles. The best leader is perceptive, above all things.