7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Leader – News Couple

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Leader

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Giving you a chance to take on a leadership role is an important step in everyone’s life. This means that senior management has seen something that they believe separates you from the rest and that you have the potential to rise to the top.

One challenge is that many professions falter at this point, and the opportunity goes to beg.

I know this from the painful personal experience of my first leadership role, which was also almost the last.

Here are seven things I wish I had known before being given the role that would have helped me be more successful past and present.

1. It’s all about people.

One of the biggest challenges is that most people are promoted to their first leadership positions because of their technical skills. But the way you lead and interact with people will determine whether you are successful or not.

Technical skills are great, but it’s people skills – your ability to inspire and motivate – that will help you the most. The higher you go, the more important it becomes.

During the first hour of my first leadership job, the test manager came up to me and told me there was a problem. I was excited because I knew all about the audition, and this would be a chance to get off to a great start. She came into my office, sat down, and said, “I have a tumor in my chest. I’m afraid it’s cancer – what do I do?” Then he burst into tears.

Only 10% of my time in that first role was spent dealing with technical issues, but the remaining 90% was all about people.

Related: Why Empathic Leadership Is More Important Than Ever

2. You don’t need to know everything.

Your job as a leader is to help your teams come up with the best answers. You don’t have to provide all the solutions or you need to know everything.

One of the worst bosses I’ve worked with has fallen into this trap, to the point where his team is rarely asked to make contributions. This led us to feel that we worked with him, not with him. The teams felt disrespected, especially since in many areas they were technical experts, not him.

Being comfortable with not knowing and being ready to tell your teams what you don’t know is a great way to build a connection and make them feel appreciated.

3. Recognition is key.

Of all the leadership and management tools, recognition is the number one for driving performance. People crave recognition. It’s one of our most basic needs, that sense of self-worth, that we’ve done a good job and that we value it is what drives people to transcend.

Quite simply, what is recognized gets repeated.

4. How do we hold people accountable?

One of the hardest things to do as a leader is to get people to accept accountability, and the first step on that journey is to understand that this is their choice. You cannot make people accountable. You can assign responsibility, but that doesn’t mean they take ownership of the outcome and are committed to success. There are three simple things you can do to help encourage accountability:

  • To be responsible on your own, set an example for the behaviors you seek in your team.
  • Make sure your teams have everything they need to succeed.
  • Create an environment in which they feel safe, and that mistakes will not be fatal to their careers.

Related: 5 Solid Leadership Strategies That Drive Success

5. Employee engagement is your job.

I doubt I was the first, and I’m sure I won’t be the last leader who thought employee engagement was something employees had to bear. Heck, the phrase employee engagement pretty much states exactly that. But the reality is different.

Employee engagement is actually a measure of how well you do your job, not how well your employees do their work, even though it has a significant impact on their performance. That’s why it should be your first priority because team performance is your responsibility.

Here are three tips to help boost employee engagement:

  • Be clear about goals and objectives.
  • Let your teams know why it’s important and how you’ll benefit from it.
  • Show them how successful they can be. This will help connect their aspirations to the goal and help increase their confidence, which will help engage and inspire your teams.

6. Everything you say and do matters.

Leadership defines the culture, and your teams monitor everything you say and do. This is great if your words and actions align with goals and objectives, as this will allow you to be a role model to emulate.

Everything you say and do is under the microscope, and you need to be thoughtful because if there is any deviation between the two, your teams, and others, can use this and excuse them to deviate from the task.

This applies not only to what you do at work, but to everything you do.

7. Driving is a 360 degree job.

Your first priority may be your team, but it’s not your only priority. As a leader, we also need to manage things upward and build a strong relationship with our superiors, making sure that the actions we take will be beneficial to them and make them look good. It pays to build good relationships with your peers, support them and ensure good cooperation between your teams and theirs.

Often, leaders, especially new leaders, focus on the people they report to, but this can create divisions that can damage your career.

Driving isn’t easy, especially when you get your first turn, but knowing and understanding these seven things will help you navigate these waters more successfully.

Related: Best Driving Advice We’ve Heard in 2021

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