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A leader’s first steps

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

When you first give your people the responsibilities of a team leader, you'll find out quickly what they think of as their "management style." Often, it's not pretty. Either they're so laid-back as to be passive and timid, or they become blunt taskmasters in order to assert their new authority over others.

That's why it's important to make sure that you guide a new leader's first steps. Rookie supervisors need to be given very clear expectations and some sense of what the enterprise in general expects of people in a management role. Offering your own style as a model can be helpful, but you should work with other managers as well to mentor and offer guidance to new leaders. Their styles may prove to be a better match, both with your new leaders and with the groups they lead.

When you see problems emerging, be careful to present your input as coaching and feedback from a peer or mentor. You don't want to add too much pressure to what's already a stressful situation. Encourage new leaders to seek and listen to feed­back from their teams, but be honest about wheth­er you think that feedback is an accurate reflection of their management style. Some aches and pains are natural in a team in transition. Others are signs of serious issues that need to be addressed prompt­ly. Use your experience and expertise to show new leaders the difference.

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