She was asked to share this insight at the Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Series, and here are her key lessons about becoming a manager:
Don’t sit back.
If you think moving up means getting to put your feet up and having your team do all the work – stop! Don’t go into management; it’s exactly the opposite. You will work harder. You will have more on your plate. So you will have more responsibility and more will be expected of you
You’re still producing.
Even though a lot of your time will be overseeing, coaching and developing your direct reports, you’re still producing as a manager. It will be in different amounts and in different ways, but good managers are in the trenches with their employees producing alongside them. They don’t wash their hands of doing the work and watch.
Be a culture giver.
As a manager, you have the ability to not only contribute (and encourage your teams to contribute) to the company culture, but foster your team’s subculture. Allow your team to create its own traditions and celebrations, and encourage your team to have fun.
Everyone is motivated by something different, and it’s important that managers spend time with each of their direct reports to identify what inspires them, what pushes them to hit a goal. If you blanket a motivator across the team to hit a goal without actually knowing whether or not it’s something everyone cares about, you’re missing the boat.
Be part of the solution, not the problem.
If you spot an area that could be improved, great! But, don’t stop there – create a solution. Suggest a plan for change. It could be improving a process, a relationship, etc. Don’t just complain about something, share what will be done to resolve it.
As a leader, you’re more visible. More people are looking at you, and smiling creates a positive energy, which is contagious. Smiling shows you enjoy what you’re doing, and it makes leaders more approachable.
The best leaders have high emotional intelligence and are self-aware. They know how they come across and recognize how their nonverbal communication impacts whoever they’re speaking to. People who are self-aware reflect on how a conversation went and how it could have been better.
Invest in you.
Lastly, if managers are not studying, reading, learning to better themselves, how can they expect their employees to do the same? In order for employees to grow, leaders need to grow, which means investing outside of “work hours” to learn.
Looking for more tips on how to become a better leader? Check out these four habits every manager should develop.