Learn the three new skills you must master to become an effective leader.
- Let's keep this simple. There are a lot of new skills you'll need to master as a new leader. Here are three that matter the most. First, communication skills. Let's say you're a man or a woman of few words. That may have worked well when you were solely an employee, carrying out the orders of your boss. Now that you're in management, you'll need to step up your game. Here's why.
You need to be able to clearly communicate your specific expectations so that team members can properly execute your vision. A brief overview probably won't be enough to ensure people are getting off on the right foot, especially if you are managing employees who may be working in their first professional job. If you need help in this area, consider hiring a coach who specializes in communication skills and the language of business.
When I say 'communication skills,' this also means the written word. Now that you're a leader, you'll be expected to create reports, memos, and written performance reviews for those you oversee. Strong writing skills can quickly signal to senior management that you are someone worth placing on the high potential list, as writing skills seem to have declined over the years.
The second important new skill you need is relationship building. I can't think of one organization that doesn't run solely on the power of relationships. Think about it. Customers do business with people they like. Those that get promoted do so because of the strong relationships they've built up, down, and around the organization. Those who are best at relationship building are always thinking of how they can be of help to others.
Let's take you and me. Suppose we meet for the first time, and I'm interested in building a relationship with you. You're in a role that may one day require my services. Rather than me thinking, "Hmm, how can I get this guy "to hire me as his coach?" I'd focus on what value I could provide to you. I might offer to send you a copy of one of my books, or have a conversation with your daughter, who is thinking about applying to the college I attended.
This pivot from self focus to other focus will drive your behaviors to be more conducive for building relationships rather than just using relationships. Finally, let's talk about problem solving. One thing I do know for sure: if you're a boss, you are going to have problems that need solving. I've seen some managers chase their tails trying to solve problems because they are simply unable to make a decision.
When it comes to problem solving, it's best to weigh out your options. Examine the probability that something will or will not occur, and then make a decision. Otherwise, you'll be seen as the guy or gal who is unable to resolve problems effectively, which, in all honesty, can quickly put an end to what was a bright management career. As you transition from individual contributor to manager, focus on improving your communication skills.
Work on building stronger relationships, and become known as the person who quickly resolves problems. Master these fundamentals. Then, you can move on to tackling new skills that will help you soar even further.
- The first 90 days
- Building productive relationships
- Why engage your employees?
- Influencing employee commitment
- Managing your former peers
- How to go from friend to boss
- Developing the skills needed to be an effective manager
- Becoming a magnetic leader