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personality clashes
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mutual respect
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Becoming A Successful Manager - Avoid The Common Pit Falls And Get The Best Out Of Your Team
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Becoming A Successful Manager   -   Avoid the Common Pit Falls And Get the Best Out Of Your Team

So you want to be a manager? Avoid the common pitfalls that will hurt your chances of successfully leading a team by keeping these few tips in mind.

If you are on the management track, chances are you are great at your job and are well respected by your boss for your ability to hold it all together and making it look easy. Being a great manager should be a walk in the park, right?

Wrong! Just because you are great in your current role, does not by any means that you are going to be successful leading a team, regardless of the fact that you are the next kid wonder.

I have been managed and been a manager, and quite frankly, I learned how to get the best out of my own team through experiencing my own manager’s lack of insight and management skills. Some of us are born leaders, but hey, it is easy to fall into the trap of poor management. In my opinion, it boils down to a few things, but ego seems to be the most common issue managers’ face.

Ok, you are great at your job, you crush your KPIs weekly, monthly, yearly, and your boss thinks you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. All well and good, but new managers must be careful, especially when taking on a new team. If this team is comprised of your peers, those you have worked closely with for the past several years, it could be a tricky situation. Perhaps one of your colleagues feels looked over for not getting promoted, maybe your personality clashes with one of your reports, or you may have been at the company for half the time of one of your direct reports. Avoid stepping on any toes, especially in the initial stages of your new career.

No one says you have to be best buds with your colleagues, but developing a relationship based on mutual respect is quite important. If you are on the management track now, stepping all over your teammates or using them as a platform to show off to your boss is not winning you any brownie points. Becoming a successful manager is not something that just happens when the title on your business card changes.

Take the time to get to know your colleagues and their personal and professional goals. Sharing an experience with a teammate can go a long way. No one says you have to play therapist, or over share personal information, but getting to know the basics of your future team is important. You will get absolutely no traction if you are the leader of a group that resents you and is suspicious of your motives. Remember what I said about not stepping all over your co-workers to get to the top? This can and most likely will, come back to haunt you.

When you are on the way up, it is crucial for you to evaluate your peers and recognize where their motivations lie. Perhaps Joe in marketing loves the thrill of developing the winning campaign, Jane enjoys the customer service aspect of her work, or Brian performs best when there is a bonus involved. Whatever it is, if you hope to get the best out of your team, it is important to take note of these factors.

Think before you communicate. Read and re-read your emails before you disseminate to your team to ensure that the tone is in the right place. There is absolutely no need to over explain simple concepts that your teammates are most likely aware of. Just because you got a promotion, does not mean your colleagues suddenly forgot how to do their job. Believe me, this is a recipe for disaster!

When communicating with your professional network, refrain from referring to your team members as objects that you own. “My guy in PR, Mark, will be on this right away”. Your direct reports are not your serfs, and discussing them in this manner is absolutely damaging your relationship with them. When I am discussing my teammates I always refer to them as “my colleague” or I use phrases like “I work with Joe quite closely and I know he will get you the results you are looking for”.

Get to know your team and what they need from you. Again, it is about enabling them to do the best job possible, and you need to determine what they need from you in order to do their jobs well. You may have to completely step back and allow one team member the space to do what he or she does well. You may need to do a little hand holding and motivating to get the best result. Again, what does your team need from you, to give you the results you expect? It’s quite simple really!

I hate to break it to you, but your way is not the only way. The sooner you figure this out, the happier all involved will be. When reading over a report or email draft of a direct report, refrain from over editing - changing a word here, or adding a sentence there should be avoided if the document is on point and achieves what is required. If the concept is on track, there is no need for you to make unnecessary changes.

Your colleagues will have styles different from your own, and will most likely play up the strengths they do have in order to complete the task at hand. We all have a style of our very own, and an individual’s work should reflect that.

It’s not about you, and how well you perform anymore. Your success rides on the performance of your team, and if your team is underperforming, well, hey, I warned you, didn’t I? Determine what your team members need to be successful, discover what motivates them, and ensure that you are providing an environment where hard work is recognized and a true sense of team work is present. Your success can only be attained through the success of the team. By remembering these few suggestions, becoming a successful manager and furthering your career is within reach.


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