So you’ve been promoted from that lead technical engineer role to a management position.
Similar role, right, just some more responsibilities for people? From my experience, there’s a fundamental shift to leading people.
Here are five things I would prioritise:
1. Establish your leadership philosophy
Start by thinking long and hard about your leadership philosophy.
Do you feel excited and empowered because you can now tell other people what to do — or are you more excited about supporting others reach their full potential. For me, it was always about the latter.
Your priorities and behaviours become apparent when you know your own philosophy.
2. Get out of the Technical Details:
If you’ve progressed up through technical roles, everything changes with management.
Resist the urge to jump into technical detail. Sure, be a coach to your team, but they’ll never learn if you keep jumping in to fix things. If you’re always in detail, you are likely not focused on your people priorities.
Shift your focus.
3. Communication effectively and set clear expectations
Effective communications matter more than ever as a manager.
Be as transparent as possible about your priorities and the intentions of meetings involving your team. Talk about purpose and priorities in a consistent, straightforward way. Focus on clarity of thought when expressing opinions or making decisions.
Less is more in terms of priorities — Max 5 at a time.
4. Set and agree on your operating model
Start by aligning on shared team values and principles.
Great leadership puts importance on values that guide each interaction and decision. Take compassion as an example. Developing a compassionate leadership approach will guide you not to judge but instead listen, be open and be empathic.
Guiding principles give you and your team a solid footing.
Remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable:
Management is a tough gig!
You’ll likely find yourself walking the fine line between vulnerability and conviction. For new managers, the challenge and opportunity come from a humble appreciation that no one is invincible. It comes from giving team members the confidence that decisions are being made in a balanced, thoughtful way.
Embrace your vulnerability; your people will respect that.