If you’re new to leadership after years of serving as a technical expert, taking on responsibility for other people–in addition to completing projects on time and on budget, serving clients, and nurturing new business leads–can result in stress and overwhelm if you go into the role thinking you can just wing it.
Taking on a supervisory or leadership role means that it’s no longer just about your success. You are now accountable for the success of each member of your team, and each one will be at a different level on the technical/behavioral learning curve. You need to be accessible. You need to serve as a role model. You need to think strategically. You need to keep your team engaged or risk losing your greatest assets.
Many of the new leaders I work with often comment that managing their team is itself a full-time job. And many organizations provide little support in the way of structured leadership training.
The best way to ensure your success and prevent overwhelm is to start with a reality check of where you are and where you need to be. A 90-day execution plan can help. The following outline offers a solid starting point to move you in the right direction:
Big Picture Goals
- What is your leadership mindset/philosophy?
- What do you want to be known for?
- Who’s a positive role model for you?
- Get clear on highest priorities
- Identify opportunities and challenges
- Direct reports
- What excites you about your team?
- Any weak links?
- Identify time wasters
- Identify “big rocks” projects
- Productivity/efficiency strategies
- Identify what can/should be delegated
- What are your greatest opportunities, and in what areas do you need to develop your bench strength?
- What support do you need?
- Are you comfortable asking for feedback (from leadership, direct reports, clients?)
- How to challenge assumptions?
- How to shift your perspective from colleague/coworker to manager?
- Who needs what?
- What is your role in staff development?
- Do you know how to bring out the best in other people?
- How to implement a coaching model?
- Team building
Relationship Building: Leadership/Stakeholders, Direct Reports, Other Departments
- What’s working?
- What isn’t working?
- How to clarify expectations?
- Daily/weekly/long-range action steps
- Manager vs. staff (old you vs. new you)—what needs to change?
- Role modeling/emotional intelligence
- Creating a safe space
- Circumstances vs. possibilities
- Powerful questions
- Identify items to measure
- What do you need to get started?
- How to track/communicate progress?
- What’s your 1%?
You don’t need to know everything on day one. Relax and learn to trust your gut. Focus on improving your performance by just 1% each day.