As our company grows, we’re creating many new opportunities for people early in their careers. One particular area is in the formation of new teams and individuals to manage them. When we had 200 associates, we needed a certain number of managers. Now that we are well over 1,000 associates, we need many more managers.
As you grow in your career you may have the opportunity to lead a team and become a manager. You may already be a manager and be on to managing managers. It is exciting to develop yourself and to take on additional responsibilities. Here are a few thoughts as you prepare for your new role:
- It is about the people. As a new manager, or a manager of managers, your role begins and ends with the human element and well-being. There will be goals, usually quantified by numerical targets. Embrace those objectives and get a plan to accomplish them. However, keep in mind that it is the people who accomplish the goals, who create your success. Serve them, equip them, understand what they want out of their careers and enable them to win.
- Invest in your strengths. As a manager you will be tempted to spend most of your time with the people struggling the most. You do want to help everyone and certainly want to assist new people to get them up to speed. But a common mistake is to become absorbed with those who are struggling at the expense of those who are doing well. Be sure to spend a portion of your time with the folks who are doing well. They will lift the entire team and allow those who need more time to develop.
- Be humble. New managers think that they need to act differently or transition into some form of new leader when they get a promotion. It is natural to adjust to your new role, but do not let it become a false sense of self-importance. In reality you just got a new set of responsibilities to serve more people and make them shine. Your success comes from their success. Help them win, show them off, and in doing so you will advance.
- Be strong. Strong does not mean that you have to be a different person. Strong means you develop your ideas and you push them forward. Be consistent in the direction you are moving your team. That inner strength will come through over time and people will move in the direction in which you need them.
- Admit your mistakes and change course when needed. People can handle changes in course more than you think. Many of the best companies did a lot of zigzagging to get where they are. Markets are fluid so you have to be flexible. For some reason new managers seem to think they must never be wrong. Whoever started that myth is no longer around so don't worry about it. When you have new information or you get better counsel and you need to change direction, just do it, communicate it and move forward.
It is a high calling to manage others. When you raise your hand and say that you will take responsibility for other people, you are doing good work. Hold your head high and be proud of your team, but do not let the title go to your head and make you someone you truly are not on the inside. Let the role and responsibility go to your heart and draw your best service out of you.
Zig Ziglar often said that, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want." There are a lot of people who want a great job at a growing company with a fantastic manager. You can be that key person for them and in time get back all you want and more.