Chances are you got promoted to a leadership position because you were good at what you do and you demonstrated leadership qualities. So now is the time to combine being good as a worker and being great as a leader at the same time. You will have to do both functions for some time.
Here are three strategies to hone your leadership skills while you grow in your role.
1. Stop and Listen - Take the time to listen to your team members and gather ideas before making decisions. Dig a little deeper on issues that you might otherwise overlook or gloss over because you think you have to know it all.
What new idea could you put into place that came from an employee who has been around for a long time? Have you asked your team members to challenge you on any of your ideas?
2. Delegate Meaningful Work - Identify responsibilities you can give to others. Think about the different levels of responsibility and type of work depending on the employee’s work style and skill set.
Who could you give a task to who might do it better than you? Who could you give a responsibility to that might take them longer than you, but they could learn something new?
3. Coach or Teach, Don’t Manage - I wish we could rid organizations of the terms “supervisor” and “manager”. Today’s workforce, young and not-so-young don’t want you breathing down their necks and all of these titles describe just that. Think of yourself as a coach or a teacher rather than a supervisor.
Have you clearly stated company goals and worked with your team to define objectives to reach those goals? Have you scheduled check-in time to see where they are on their own goals and to provide praise or re-direction?
You are learning how to be a great leader. It won’t happen quickly and in fact, challenge yourself to always learn how to be better whether you are a new leader, or if you’ve been leading for a long time.