For many people, the American Dream is defined by becoming a leader.
It is, of course, one thing to strive for leadership. It’s quite another to step into that role. True leaders are mentors who inspire those they lead and help them become more involved in their work. While getting results for the company is certainly an important part of the job, how you interact with other employees will ultimately determine your success as a leader.
Before taking on your new role, some important preparatory steps will help you navigate this transition successfully.
1. Follow additional training.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with your new role, you’re not alone. A survey of 500 managers by Grovo found that 44 percent of new managers felt unprepared for a leadership position, while 87 percent wished they had received more training.
While you are expected to mentor those you lead, this doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some extra guidance or training yourself. Find a coach or program that can help you succeed in your new role. Even if formal classes are not available, asking questions and gaining insight into the knowledge and experience of others can give you a head start.
Of course, you’ll probably have to do your part of the research outside of the office. Reading management books and blogs, especially those on emotional intelligence, can help you better understand what makes a good leader.
Just remember that, in the end, practical experience will be the best teacher of all. Do your homework, but know that it’s okay to make a few mistakes along the way as you learn through first-hand experience.
2. Be ready to talk (and listen) to those who report to you
Your ability to personally interact with each person on the staff is an important foundation for your future relationships.
In a study at the University of Galway, Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D., a neuro-sociopsychologist with an emphasis on entrepreneurial mindsets, finds that developing a strong personal relationship with the people you manage in a team environment is essential to successful inspiration and guidance.
One-to-one communication can ultimately be much more effective at developing trust and setting boundaries than just trying to communicate through group meetings. This provides the opportunity to understand what each person likes and dislikes about their role, as well as gaining more insight into what motivates them and what their long-term goals are.
The better you understand the people you work with, the easier it will be to develop strong rapport based on mutual respect.
3. Stay humble
Yes, the fact that you have taken a leadership position is a big deal. There is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself for what you have achieved. But at the same time, don’t let that new title go to your head.
Even if you’re the boss, you don’t know everything. As a leader, your role should be to inspire and support your team members — not to show off how smart you are or get everyone to agree with your way of doing things.
Remember to treat your staff the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Recognize that even though you are the leader, some of other people’s best ideas can come into the room. A humble leader who provides encouragement and helpful feedback gains the respect and support of his team.
A respectful relationship creates cooperation when you want things done a certain way.
There’s no denying that transitioning into a leadership role for the first time can be challenging and even a little scary. But you took this position for a reason. Sharpening your professional skills and making the people you work with a priority can help your entire business become more successful.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
This post 3 things every new leader should do before their first day at work
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