If you’ve recently been promoted to a management role - Congratulations! You have every reason to be excited. Your organization has demonstrated their confidence in you. However, once the excitement wears off and the heightened responsibility sinks in, we want you to be prepared for what’s next. A new manager can easily feel overwhelmed. In fact, according to a study by the HR consultancy DDI, six out of ten managers said that becoming a boss for the first time was second in stress level only to a divorce. We see the stress level increase in our clients all the time when they get promoted. So, we want to help you understand how to overcome some of the most common obstacles facing new managers and help you continue to build your leadership skills.
One common obstacle is believing that being a boss gives you instant authority. Whether you are managing those you know or have taken a new leadership position in a new organization, it is important to gain the respect of your employees. This doesn’t happen overnight. Instead of demanding authority, earn it by demonstrating leadership skills and fostering a positive environment. For example:
Communicate tasks and deadlines simply and clearly.
Commend your employees and provide feedback.
Share your vision and what you want to accomplish as a leader.
Another obstacle to being an effective leader is trying to maintain the same relationships you had before. With your newfound responsibility, you will also have a new peer group at work. Your old workmates may now be your employees, and your former superiors are now your peers. This will take some time to get used to, but it’s important to accept that your relationships will change, don’t fight it, in order to be an effective leader.
Some new managers try too hard to be liked. While you want to be positive and work effectively with your new employees, don’t make the mistake of making exceptions for those you used to work with. Bending the rules will not get you anywhere in the long run. As a leader, it will be almost impossible to make all of your employees happy. Having standardized rules for everyone will help you earn their respect.
Others quickly realize that they are underprepared, not knowing how much work goes into being a manager. A 2011 CareerBuilder survey found that 58 percent of respondents didn't receive any management training before they became leaders. To overcome this obstacle, observe other leaders in your organization and take note of the soft skills you need to develop. Find a mentor or a career coach to help you build your leadership skills.
It takes time to become a strong and effective leader, so don’t get discouraged if you are facing one or several of these obstacles. Determine which of these obstacles most applies to you and develop a plan to address them for the first quarter of this year to hit the ground running. Then, reevaluate and identify how you have progressed as a leader. This will help you develop your leadership skills and, in time, be ready to take on even more responsibility.