Navigating the waters of influence as a first-time manager can be overwhelming. While there are countless resources available that focus on management styles, success often comes down to certain neglected factors that play a critical role. Luckily, René Rodriguez has a few ‘clues’ to share
In this context, ‘a clue’ stands for assess, create, listen, unify and execute – key elements that are often overlooked in traditional management resources. These are in essence a set of essential tips and actionable items for first-time managers to increase and maximise their influence.
The idea of ‘onboarding’ new hires is not new, but the process of ‘onboarding’ new managers is too often not taken into consideration. So, if your company doesn’t have such a system in place, then you need to take matters into your own hands and onboard yourself. By applying the ‘a clue’ approach, you can gain respect and influence from your team and thrive in your new role.
- Assess the situation
The first step to maximising your influence is to assess the situation you are in. This begins with self-awareness. Skipping this step is like grabbing a tool from your toolbox without first understanding the needs of the job. Ask yourself if you have the skills, experience, and ability to manage a team.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is key to building upon your strengths and filling in the gaps in your weaknesses. A great place to start is by asking the person who hired you about your strengths and weaknesses. By being proactive in creating your professional development plan, you show that you are a leader who wants to continually grow and improve.
- Create psychological safety
The journey of influence begins with preparing people to hear your ideas and act upon them. This starts with understanding the concept of psychological safety. Psychological safety is the belief that one can speak up without fear of retribution. When people feel psychologically safe, they are more open to new ideas and new managers. Those that aren’t are resistant to change in any way.
By being clear and honest with yourself about any hindrances to people wanting to listen to you and follow your lead, you can create a safe environment by building rapport and honouring the past before sharing a vision of a new future. Creating a safe work environment will make people more receptive to your ideas and can help overcome resistance to new management.
- Listen and build relationships
The best way to create safety and trust is to ensure people feel heard and respected. By active listening, specifically to their ideas, you prepare people to hear your ideas. Make time to take inventory of what has worked in the past, what they are proud of, what things you should watch out for as a new manager.
This is rooted in a philosophy of “Honour the past before you build a new future”. If you come in with all guns blazing, focusing on the things you would do differently, you will most likely experience resistance just out of the team’s need to protect their feeling of value.
They worked hard on ideas before in hopes it would lead to something better. Not acknowledging that could lead to them feeling like what they did was meaningless. By honouring the past first, you respect the hard work and effort of the team, allowing them to open up to new ideas and frames you as the next level of success for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
- Unify through alignment
Creating alignment and understanding the playing field in front of you is crucial. Identify people who carry influence and make sure they are aligned with you. Enrol these influential people into your management style, vision and strategy. This will help create structure, order and predictability, with a clear communicated strategy and a setting of expectations. It is essential to communicate what success looks like based on expectations and how you will measure performance. Simply communicating expectations not only saves time and money, but also reduces risk.
- Execute actions
Execution is an essential component of leadership for first-time managers. It involves implementing strategies, assigning tasks, and ensuring that team members meet their goals. Effective execution shows that you can deliver results and create an environment of accountability. When team members see that you are actively engaged in the execution process, it builds trust and confidence in your leadership abilities.
It also encourages them to take ownership of their responsibilities and work towards achieving the goals set by the team. Ultimately, the value of execution lies in the fact that it allows you to make a positive impact, build credibility and establish trust with your team because everyone wins.
In conclusion, being a first-time manager can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Maximising your influence requires self-awareness, understanding psychological safety, creating alignment, focusing on execution and developing a growth mindset. By following these tips and actionable items, you can build a strong foundation for your management style and lead your team to certain success.
René Rodriguez is a TEDx and keynote speaker, leadership advisor and author of Amplify Your Influence: Transform How You Communicate and Lead (Wiley)