Congratulations—you’ve been promoted! After years of proving your technical ability, you’re now thrust into the position of management.
What should you do? Here are some pointers to establish yourself in your new role:
Meet every employee. Spend quality time with all the employees in your department. Don’t overlook anyone, especially the part-timers or the lowest-level staffers. Pose lots of questions on how they like to work, what motivates them and what ideas they have. Always ask, “Can you describe the best boss you ever had?”
Fix what’s broken. Identify your employees’ No. 1 complaint. Then address it either by fixing it or—if the problem is too big or complex to repair easily—by showing that you share your team’s goal of eventually solving it. Example: If everyone dislikes the location of the office, you may not be able to sign a new lease on another site closer to town. But you can offer other, more immediate solutions, such as allowing for more telecommuting or arranging car pools.
Work alongside your team. Even if you now enjoy a spacious office, don’t spend too much time in there. Sit down in employees’ cubicles and work with them. Don’t just observe them; that will make some people nervous. Instead, find ways to collaborate with others so that you can both be productive while working together. Example: Answer customer service calls along with the phone reps for a few hours a week.
Learn more about managing employees legally and effectively. Managing to Stay Out of Court: How to Avoid the 8 Deadly Sins of Mismanagement
Finally, learn these three lessons of management sooner rather than later:
1. The technical areas you’ve mastered won’t help you as much now as your “soft” skills (namely, your ability to communicate).
2. Your employees should respect you, even if they don’t necessarily like you or agree with your decisions.
3. While you can influence others’ behavior, you cannot control what they do or how they act.
Learn the 8 most common management pitfalls (The 8 Deadly Sins), such as lack of accountability ... poor listening skills ... avoidance ... and more. Plus, learn how to avoid each one (The 8 Virtues).
Find out how to transfer these workplace-tested techniques directly into powerful results at work. Managing to Stay Out of Court: How to Avoid the 8 Deadly Sins of Mismanagement