In many workplaces, people are promoted into managerial positions because they are good at their job. Unfortunately, being good at one job does not always mean having good management skills, and many companies do not do any training of new managers. Fortunately, there are steps people can take to prepare themselves for leadership positions.
Some of the qualities that make a good manager are the same ones that make someone good with people in other areas of life as well. For example, effective leaders need to be good listeners. Trust, compassion and kindness will get a team on a manager’s side and make them go the extra mile. Strong communication skills are critical.
One significant shift managers have to deal with is going from days when they may have had to-do lists that they were able to work through to less predictable work days. A big part of being a leader in the workplace involves responding to situations as they arise. Managers should also be prepared to think creatively about “people problems.” For example, an employee who is struggling at work might not be a bad worker. They might be in the wrong department or may lack the necessary structure to support them.
Being a manager is not always about supporting employees. If an employee is consistently underperforming and no solutions can be found, managers may need to make the difficult decision to let an employee go.
Managers need to be able to motivate their team and set a good example. One-on-one meetings with employees is important for both development and problem-solving. Ultimately, a manager’s goal should be to create more leaders.
Employees do not work in a vacuum, and while it is not the job of managers to solve the personal problems of staff, there may be times when employees come to them with issues that affect their work. Managers need to be able to navigate these situations.
A good leader must be prepared to celebrate the success of their employees. This can mean ducking out of the spotlight, but the best leaders know their staff’s success is their own.
No one ever finishes the process of becoming a leader. An effective leader is always growing, changing and preparing to meet new challenges.