What’s in it for me ?
So you’ve made it, you’ve given it all and got that promotion, got that raise. First off : congratulations. Secondly : Back to school ! The truth is that there is nothing more fundamental in work life than the change being a simple 9 to 5 employee to being a Manager. Being responsible for a team and for results is a different thing, it is also a different stage. Now you’re up for something completely new and there are thousands of things you can run into, but there are also a few major things you need to avoid doing and a few things you must do by any means to get to success.
I want you to be successful, I want you to be the star of your company, so in this article I’m giving you some help off the block to get going. Don’t worry, it’s only four points, but you absolutely need to keep this in mind to succeed.
As an employee you’re used to being told where to go, what to do, when to finish. This has ended. Now. Now you’re still getting told what to achieve by when, but are not getting told how, where to go, etc… You are alone. Realize that. You’re on your own.
While that may sound like a bad thing, think again. It actually means that for the first time you can design work, processes and ethics.
Therefore, I can assure you that to get started you first need to put up some goals that you believe in. There will always be goals from your boss. Increase profit, that Is the boiled down number one target you will get. Increase customer service might be one of your targets, but what is it ? Happy customers mean they will cherish your service and products, they will stay customers for longer, refer your products to other potential clients, they will build business with you and in turn generate more profit. Every single target you get told to achieve is only about profit in the end.
Now you can define how to get to that goal. Do you want to change the work ethics in the team ? Do you want to change your team’s ERP system (if you’re in Supply Chain), do you want to thrive on your customer relations?
YOU can define how you will achieve those goals – that’s what being a Manager is about.
Listen to the team
The number one mistake I made when getting my initial promotion and got to be a Manager was to not listen to the team. I was 26, my team was an average of 48 years of age with everyone being in the company for more than 15 years. They were purchasers, making 70.000$ a year each, and I was making 45.000$.
Now what do you think happened when I got there the first week and at the end of the week started talking about changing processes ? I lost them. Plain and simple.
It was only when I started to actually listen to them, cherish their feedback and insight, that I got hold of things. Even more – if you’re not being promoted from the team you will then manage, you won’t have a clue what people are doing all day long. Sit with them, do their work for a few days and learn what it is really about. It is an infinite source of knowledge and reputation you will gain.
Get a mentor
Now that you can define things according to your own will, you can also make mistakes that many people before you have made. But they are not to be found at the level of your former colleagues, or at the level of your boss. Go at least one or two levels above your boss and connect. Get a mentor ! It is incredibly important that you profit from somebody senior’s experience. A mentor will tell you what to focus on, how to work with people, how to play the political game on the stage that is called Management.
Apart from getting a mentor, you need to read ! The American population read an average of 8 books per year. The average CEO reads 5 books per month ! Management and self-improvement books to me have been the holy grail. If you want to be successful YOU.NEED. TO. READ.
Go get all the standard books to get you going. I have added a couple below.
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Change your way of working
How did you get your promotion ? Probably because you worked harder than anybody else and you showed that you’re committed. Now though you will have one thousand things that you can potentially spend your attention on, and if you dig into one of those thousand things you will find another thousand details. Don’t do that. Seriously, don’t !
Get a book like “The 80/20 Rule” by Richard Koch that teaches you what to focus on and how to spend time efficiently, so you can work effectively.
What’s the difference? Efficiency is how quick you do things, Effectiveness is doing the right things. Go get “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. It will blow your mind !
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The truth is, you can’t do everything and you can’t do it by yourself anymore. You need to spend your time and energy wisely to focus your areas of work on what’s important in relation to your targets. This needs to be your number one guideline! If you don’t do this, you will kill your time, you will achieve nothing and you will not succeed !
Everry day you need to map out your goals, think about your open to-do items and how important they are compared to your goals. Do the ones that are relevant, don’t do the ones that are not relevant unless you absolutely need to.
I can write a list of 100 of these things that I learned on my way so far. I can get as deep as Why a Montblanc pen makes you a better Manager. However, this is to get you started. Reach out to me if you need help, I’ll be there, hanging in there with you !