By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
[email protected]

You’ve worked hard for years, arriving early, staying late, and volunteering for projects. Your hard work has been recognized, and you’ve accepted a promotion offer. In your new position, you have the opportunity to manage people for the first time in your career.
This new position of leadership presents new challenges and requires skills that you may not have developed yet. Set yourself up for success by keeping this guide in mind as you prepare for your new position.

Don’t Underestimate Your Transition
Getting promoted to a management position is a career milestone and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is a new phase in your career, and you need to prepare for it with the same vigor that you did for the last phase.
Many companies lack the necessary support for their first time leaders. If you are in this position, look for development and learning programs that can help you develop the skills you need to succeed in your new role. The skills you mastered to be a top-performing employee are not always helpful as a leader.

Improve Your Listening Skills
When you can communicate effectively, you can keep your team engaged and inspired. The quality of your interactions will affect how your employees feel about their performance, your leadership, and the overall company.
When you actively listen to others, you develop trust and improve your team’s perception of you as a leader. This can generate more creativity and boost job satisfaction.

Actively Seek New Challenges and Experiences
It’s been long touted that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a new craft. While recent scientists have debunked this exact number, there’s an important message to this saying. You’re new to leadership, which means you haven’t mastered this new role yet.
All too often, new leaders fall into the trap of working harder and longer because that’s what worked in their old role. But you’re a leader now, so this approach isn’t the most effective. Instead, seek out situations where you can develop and learn new leadership skills.

You Work for Your Employees
You may be the leader, but it’s your team that will make you a success. Their performance is the barometer of your effectiveness as a leader. Learn how to identify their needs and how you can adapt to provide for them.
Learn how to identify what motivates your team. For each person, it will be different; money, status, or recognition. By learning this, you can tailor how you manage and reward that person to effectively motivate and boost morale.

Be Kind
You may have feelings of insecurity and nervousness as a first time leader, but don’t let this manifest when you interact with others. Give the impression of confidence and security in your new role by building up those around you. Be kind and compassionate to your team members, and you will garner their trust and respect.

Learn to Trust
Have you ever worked for a manager that didn’t trust their team? They place tight restrictions on all areas of the job, they micromanage, and there’s an overall oppressive feeling to the workplace. Don’t be this manager.
It can be tempting to lock down control as a way of dealing with your insecurity in your new role. Ultimately this does you and your team a disservice. Instead, offer your team open trust as the foundation of your relationship. Then slowly take that trust away if your team does something to lose it.
By developing this open and trusting relationship, you will become the leader that everyone wants to work with.

Seek Professional Guidance
One great quality all leaders have is the ability to identify when you need assistance. As a first time leader, you can seek out guidance by networking with great leaders. Learn from their experience and guidance to develop your leadership style.

Let’s get to work!
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]