There’s a first time for everything.
In both our personal and our working lives, we learn as we go. These moments provide opportunities to grow, to improve, and to enrich our lives. These new hurdles can also be intimidating.
You’ve been doing well in work. Your managers have noticed. They’ve been watching how you work, observing how you interact with your peers, and seeing the quality of the work you've been putting in. You’re organised, enthusiastic, capable and you take your work on with energy and determination. You’re a team player. It’s your managers job to look for these qualities in their teams. They’ve noticed, and they want to reward you. So they promote you into a new role. With a new project to be delivered, they put you in charge of the team. For the first time, you’re in charge. While its undeniably a positive moment, its daunting. Where do you start? What do you do?
The first thing to do is relax. Don’t stress it. Remember, you’ve been selected for this role for a reason, and by people who wouldn’t offer you the opportunity in the first place if they didn’t think you could pull it off. Take confidence from that. Try and see it as a transitional time, a project that could lead to career development, a new role, maybe even a raise? Everyone likes a raise.
So, first. Take a step back, look at the job, and decide how you should bring it together. Who takes what role? Look at your team. Who does what well? Your role will be to delegate the work to the right people, and to guide them through the process. To do this well, you need the right strategy. Be the right kind of leader. The days of the growling, angry boss behind a desk - demanding and difficult - are gone. That’s no way to manage a team or a project. Bad attitude is the enemy of good productivity at a every level. So encourage, communicate, support. People respond better, and are more productive when their managers are proactive in supporting them. The real strength of every team is in its communication, and as the leader, that should be your first priority. Keeping the conversation open, honest and collaborative at all times gives the project the energy to keep moving. It builds trust and strengthens the team.
First time management brings the chance to use your full skill set. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, find a mentor to help you through. Your immediate superior would be the best person to seek support from on this. They know you, they know how you work and what you need to achieve with this project. They also see the bigger picture of the organisations objectives.
Becoming a manager for the first time brings a whole new set of issues to navigate your way through. Things you may not have thought about before. You’ll make mistakes, of course, that’s to be expected, you're a human. But its also good to use this opportunity to improve and build your skills. The modern world of work is all about learning, and you’ll be able to access training through articles, courses, books and webinars. Ask for help from those who know. Search for tips, find the tools.
It might be the first time, but people have faith in you, so it's unlikely to be the last.