Managing People is a Challenge
I have been working in the finance industry for over 8 years now and in the last 6 of these I have managing people. In truth I was promoted to team leader relatively quickly and unfortunately fell into management hard.
I was thrust from my team mates friend to their boss and it totally changed the game for me. For one step up on the ladder, the difference to my life was was huge. I felt that I was no longer able to lunch with the team, I would be afraid of being ‘that’ boss. Not only did it change the way I thought others would see me but that wasn’t all, it completely changed my perspective on myself.
Being promoted to Manager can be daunting but like most things in life, it gets better with practice. So here are my tips based on what I have learned in the last 6 years of managing and developing graduate recruits.
1. Be Honest
In my experience staff have a good sense of when someone is lying to them. The reality is that if you think you are a great liar, in an organisation or team you are not. Every word that comes out of your mouth is analysed to extreme levels, remember you are now in a position of power and as a result you need to be careful. Just remember that if you lie and subsequently get caught, you undermine your own leadership. Every word that leaves your mouth from that moment on falls under question. It could take years to reestablish that trust. Its safer to tell the truth, at least as much as you can. If a team member asks you a question that you can’t answer, then you should simply state that you can’t, explain why and make a commitment that will speak to him as soon as are allowed.
“Its safer to tell the truth, at least as much as you can. If a team member asks you a question that you can’t answer, then you should simply state that you can’t and explain why.”
Just remember though, trust works both ways and if you have a staff member that betrays your trust then make sure you pull them up on it.
2. Be Collaborative
Nothing unites a team than when they are all working towards the same goal. Set an ambitious goal for the team that will have make each of their lives better; for example, to cut overtime in half or cut rework from process errors by X%. But what every you do, do not arrive in one day and say ‘Hey, guess what, I have a plan and here it is!’; that is unlikely to work. The best ideas are ones that the team arrive at together. if its your idea the chances are they won’t get behind it but if you can swing it that your ideas become ‘their’ idea then you will get them to be more emotionally invested in it and care more about the projects success or failure.
“The best ideas are ones that the team arrive at together.”
3. Share Knowledge
In the Old World knowledge was power, where the more you know the safer you are in your role and retaining knowledge removes any risk of some of the ‘younger’ team members overtaking you.. In the New World the best leaders are know who dump all of their knowledge on the team to make sure that are no individual experts. As a leader I judge my success or failure on whether the team functions when I am not there for two or three weeks. In doing this, it allows me to delegate to multiple people and free up my time for more value added tasks, aka ones that will get me promoted.
“As a leader I judge my success or failure on whether the team functions when I am not there for two or three weeks.”
For anyone interested in learning more about this type of stuff, you should google ‘LMX’ which stands for (leader member exchange). It offers some great detail the benefits of a connection between leader and team members.