The journey of continuous learning and self-development can be rewarding, but becoming a boss for the first time is often overlooked. This is a shame because the trials involved in this rite of passage have serious consequences for both the individual and the organization. Even for the most gifted individuals, it is often the same process.
First management positions shape executives irrevocably. Even decades later, they recall those first months as transformational experiences that shaped their leadership philosophies and styles, affecting them throughout their careers. When a person who has been promoted due to strong individual performance and qualifications fails to adjust successfully to management responsibilities, organizations suffer considerable human and financial costs.
The difficulty of the transition is not surprising, and a new manager often experiences disorientation and, for some, overwhelming confusion. The new role may not feel anything like it was supposed to, and it sure doesn’t seem to have anything to do with leadership.
New managers discover that their role is even more demanding than they anticipated. They are surprised to learn that the skills and methods required for success as an individual contributor and those required for success as a manager are starkly different, and there is a gap between their current capabilities and the requirements of the new position.
As the new manager unlearns a mindset and habits that have served them over a highly successful early career, a new professional identity emerges. They internalize new ways of thinking and being and discover new ways of measuring success and deriving satisfaction from work. This kind of psychological adjustment is taxing and inevitably leads to two questions: “Will I like management?” and “Will I be good at management?” These two questions are often accompanied by an even more unsettling one: “Who am I becoming?”
In becoming the boss, below are the things you should start and oftentimes, never stop doing;
It’s crucial to take responsibility. By doing so, you’re benefiting everyone, especially yourself. To take responsibility, you must first understand your role and what it entails. By knowing these two things, you can then focus on understanding your team and the value that your organization brings to the people it serves.
As a leader or manager, you’re always responsible. Therefore, it’s a continuous habit to remind yourself that you’re responsible for whatever happens and how your team works. Taking responsibility means acknowledging your role in every situation or experience, and recognizing that you have some degree of responsibility over the outcomes or consequences. This is also known as taking accountability.
When a mistake is made or a conflict arises, your first reaction shouldn’t be to blame others, make excuses, twist the facts, or lie. Instead, you should swiftly acknowledge there’s a problem, identify your role in it, and implement an action plan to minimize or eliminate the chances of it happening again.
Being driven by purpose is essential when taking on responsibility. Many CEOs are sacked every day because they didn’t work towards taking the organization to the next stage of growth. To avoid this, you must not forget what you’re supposed to do and why you’re in your position. Your purpose explains who you are and what makes you distinct. As a new face, to gain your team’s trust, you must show them that you understand what’s at stake. Effective leadership not only guides but also identifies, understands, and communicates the organization’s vision to motivate others to support them to achieve objectives.
During the design and implementation of a project, the leader ensures every team member understands their role and provides an enabling environment to help them perform at their best. A leader’s purpose is the compass that keeps them moving in the right direction during times of uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. A leader can articulate a meaningful purpose, but if it doesn’t guide their actions, it will damage the trust and well-being of their employees.
Have Good Communication Skills
Improving your communication skills is also crucial. As a boss or leader, you must know how to present yourself when addressing matters to your team or during normal work routine communication. More than just getting the job done, you’re also there to inspire your team. Effective communication is an essential non-technical skill that every leader must possess. An effective communicator has clarity of thought, which transforms into the words they use to instruct and interact with team members.
Active listening skills also play a crucial role in effective communication. In communicating, show empathy, and put yourself in your employees’ shoes before making decisions that can affect them. Effective communication also helps create a healthy bond between you and your employees, develops, and ultimately gets the job done.
Increasing your knowledge is also vital. Technical knowledge helps you attract respect. Every organization is supposed to have training programs for their employees. You must ensure that you don’t neglect yourself in the process. More than making a profit, staying ahead in knowledge commands respect and value that’s obvious to your team.
Leadership plays a critical role in driving knowledge management practices within an organization. Leaders need to create a culture of knowledge sharing by setting a positive example for themselves and encouraging their teams to share their knowledge and expertise. Leaders can recognize and reward employees who actively participate in knowledge-sharing activities. Additionally, leaders can create a sense of urgency around knowledge management by emphasizing its importance and its direct impact on business success.
Perseverance is not just about not giving up. When you are in a leadership role, it involves problem-solving. This means encountering a challenge, understanding why it exists, finding a way to overcome it, and learning from the experience. Successful leaders know how to keep moving forward even when their organization seems to be at a standstill. They proactively channel their team’s hard work into small steps that move the company forward despite adversity, rather than waiting to react to negative circumstances. Without perseverance, you and your organization could stagnate or decline in difficult situations. Your level of perseverance directly affects your team’s chances of overcoming obstacles and emerging stronger on the other side.
Say No To Mediocrity
To avoid mediocrity, you must strive to become better at anything by setting targets, milestones, and interim goals. Working hard and tracking progress allows you to measure your achievements, big and small, and celebrate the journey. Focusing on progress and the journey of development rather than just the end goal leads to a sense of happiness, motivation, and satisfaction.
Accepting mediocrity by settling for where you are right now makes you complacent and lazy. If you only compare your achievements to those of others, you will never be satisfied. But if you measure your progress against your own journey, you will achieve much more by striving and working hard to beat your old record and reach your goals.If you spot mediocrity in any of your team members, address it immediately so that it does not negatively affect you or the overall performance of your organization.
The process of becoming a boss is continuous and requires hard work. It is a season in which you must delay gratification and continually immerse yourself in training. It is a call to serve. As much as it shows that you are the boss, you still have to serve. The glory and shame that come into the organization go to the boss first before going to the team. Never sell yourself short, as this will not allow others to do so. Even if they do, you must build a wall where only constructive criticism is allowed.