Submitted by: Kimberly Ciesla, Senior Associate at Anne Klein Communications Group, LLC
Patrick Sweeney, president of international management consulting firm Caliper, had even YPN’s enthusiastic conversationalists silent during his presentation, “Strategies for First Time Managers.” After all, he was sharing insightful information about the transition from peer to manager. “It’s a change in yourself no one can prepare you for,” Patrick said.
Patrick began the workshop by asking the group to share examples of positive experiences with supervisors that exemplified mentorship. While the answers ranged from inclusion in supervisor-level responsibilities to the correction of less-than-favorable behaviors, all examples had one thing in common – mentors helped advance the YPN members’ careers through an interest in their personal growth.
Patrick threaded this theme throughout his presentation, emphasizing the importance of building up and inspiring a team – whether managing a project, people, time or resources. “Personality is a big part of management,” said Patrick. “You need to play to your strengths and respect and honor individual contributors based on their value system. Not everyone will want to be a manager or find it fulfilling.”
To be an effective leader, one must establish goals and policies, sell ideas, recognize problems, make decisions and leverage resources. It is also important to understand there is a tipping point for new managers in regards to relationships with peers. “Friend” relationships with team members often dissipate as the managing power transitions to a new person. It is up to the leader not to abuse the power, but to use the opportunity to build trust and respect with the team.
So … how do we do this? Patrick suggested providing a clear set of directions and creating a developmental plan together with members of the team. Find out what’s important to each team member. Determine how what he or she wants fits in with what’s important to the organization. Then determine three ways (“Not four, you’ll forget the fourth!”) to measure his or her success so they have a clear understanding of how to reach the goals you’ve set forth together.
Patrick offered these 12 pieces of advice to be a successful manager:
- Understand the role. When someone takes on a management role, it is often in addition to his or her day-to-day responsibilities. It’s important to discuss with management what is expected of you in this new role so you can work towards achieving realistic goals.
- Know you have much to learn and be open to learning from your team.
- Communicate. It’s better to state what you think is the obvious than to find out later your team did not understand your expectations.
- Give praise often. No one will ever complain that you said “thank you” too often.
- Address concerns immediately. Whether behavioral or performance-related, it is important to address concerns before they become a bigger problem and affect the team and its productivity.
- Coach. Your professional growth starts with someone else’s personal investment. Be a mentor your team trusts and can seek out for advice.
- Manage conflict. Conflict is not bad. It is necessary to drive ideas and creativity. Team members should feel comfortable stating their opposing viewpoints.
- Facilitate meetings. Keep the conversation flowing and rein in team members when they get off topic. Reach a consensus and leave with a clear understanding of next steps.
- Be decisive. Make a decision and stick to it.
- Manage priorities. As manager it’s your job to keep everyone on track, whether you’re managing a project, time or resources. Keep an eye on the big picture and focus on what’s most important.
- Create a sense of equity and fairness. Not everyone will be equal and not everything will be fair. What’s important is your ability to remain open and flexible as manager.
- Delegate responsibilities. Know your team members’ strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks accordingly.
Download Patrick’s talking points here.