Gen Y is entering management positions decades earlier than those before them. And let me tell you, lack of experience and training in management is a dangerous combination. Management is a skill both inherent and developed.
1. Don’t learn by example.
There’s no cookie-cutter style for managing people, and part of being a good manager is reading people. Use what worked for you as an employee in the past as information, but don’t replicate it exactly and expect success. Try different techniques, and pay attention to what works until you create your own style.
2. Ask for help.
Reach out to your human resources consultant for guidance. Have meetings every month to ask questions and get feedback on specific issues. Read articles and books. I asked friends what they liked and didn’t like in their managers and got advice from people who have been managing for decades.
3. Stand in your power.
Stand in your own power and authority from day one, even if you don’t think you deserve it. Fake it until you become it. No one will be the wiser.
Odds are you didn’t stand in your power from day one. Who does the first time they manage people? Manage your mistakes with grace. Admit you’re not perfect, and reboot.
Take the opportunity of someone joining your team to create a new culture. Set the tone instead of letting the culture set itself by asking your team what they want and need.
Create real, meaningful connections with them by making quarterly, day-long off-sites a team requirement. These can take several different forms depending on your needs: targeted work sessions for a specific project, brainstorming new ideas, and discussing challenging situations in the larger environment of the company.
If you’re unhappy with a pattern that has been created, find an opportunity to reboot and get back in control.
5. Ask for feedback.
Learn your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth as a manager. But equally as important, demonstrate commitment to being a good leader and mold leaders that can be open for criticism and input for growth. Many managers and supervisors think the only way to gain respect and authority is by making themselves untouchable. Take the opposite approach: Make yourself human to your team and show your vulnerability.
6. Look outside the box for inspiration.
How can you bring in your outside hobbies and interests and use them to bond with your team?
7. Support growth and be transparent about your shortcomings.
Growth is a necessary factor in job satisfaction. Rather than make it seem like you know less, connecting your team with other experts will show your insight and intelligence.
Taking the time and energy to become a good manager early will benefit you throughout your career. Do it by intentionally learning and connecting with the people you manage.
Are you a young leader? Is it challenging? Tell us about it in the comments!