Leadership 101 For New Managers
- Should either be preparing to transition to a management role or have been managing a team for a couple of years, no more.
"Leading a team was so much more difficult than I imagined!" - Shweta
Shweta's sentiment isn't uncommmon. Here's why:
We spend our entire formative years being taught how to not work with other people.
If you help someone on the exam, it's cheating. If you aren't able to solve a problem yourself, you aren't smart.
If you aren't able to memorise facts and regurgitate on the test, you fail.
Then one day we end up in the workplace where we must do exactly the opposite of what we had been conditioned to do for >20 years.
We need to collaborate, help each other, actively improve our skills, problem solve, firefight, deal with differing personalities and challenging environments.
Once in the workplace, no one cares anymore about our A's on tests or our Gold Medal in some hobby.
This is just the transition to the workplace. It can be hard.
Now, if you do well as an individual worker, then after a few years you get promoted and have to lead a team!
This, is a whole different ball game!
Earlier at least 'you' had some control over your results.
You could decide the amount of effort you put in to your work. You were guided by your manager on how to do stuff and had someone to look to for further help and guidance. If you didn't like something about the work then you and your teammates could also together moan about your manager. Haha.
Now though, you are in the shoes of your manager! You have a team.
The things that got you to excel as an individual, are the same things that might very easily get you fired as a manager!
You are slowly realising that leading a bunch of people is exactly as Shweta said!
If you are lucky then you are in a place where you receive a lot of support and guidance from your seniors as you transition into this role.
However, if you are like the majority of us, then you are trying your best not to sink at the deep end while keeping your insecurities to yourself.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS COURSE
I made this course for my own company.
After having worked for 7 years and having gone from a disastrous 1st management experience where I couldn't lead a team of one to having successfully led teams of >100 people in some of the most challenging projects in newborn health, in one of the toughest geographies - rural Uttar Pradesh, India, I finally decided to start up on my own and so with my personal savings I started a food microbusiness.
Now as I slowly grow my business, I realise that any new hires I make, will quite likely also end up facing similar troubles like I did when I first transitioned to managing a team. Hence, I created this course for them.
However, they won't be alone and I wasn't alone in struggling with the transition of managing a team for the first time. Young managers the world over struggle with it every day.
So, this course is here to provide new managers like you with the foundational building blocks to help you navigate the transition successfully.
Here are a few questions that you can expect answers to during this course:
Why you shouldn't treat others how you'd like to be treated?
What are the challenges other new managers face?
How do you understand your teammates? Including what to do if your teammates are more experienced than you.
Do you already know the problems you'll face?
How to avoid the trap of being results driven?
How to build a high performance team?
Why you should fire yourself?
How do you manage your boss?
Can you shape organisational culture?
What's one thing you should avoid when hiring a new teammate?
What's one thing most organisations do poorly that leads to new hires failing?
Among many more.
I have made this course to be concise and give you actionable value.
Most managers around the world rarely work on their leadership skills. We will be different. We will learn to be deliberate and methodical in improving our leadership as a craft.
I look forward to interacting with you.
WHAT A FEW OF MY FORMER MANAGEES HAVE TO SAY
"Your leadership has been invaluable to my growth, both professionally and personally.
The best things that I like about you as a leader are:-
I’ve always seen your willingness to tackle the difficult stuff first, before we (team) do.
You’ve always given equal credit to each & every member (low post to high post) of a team.
You gave me additional responsibility and allowed me the freedom to execute on it. Hence I did the same with my team.
If I faced any stressful situations in my personal life you allowed me to prioritise that so that I could then return to work fully focused and ready to give 100%.
I have learned so much just from observing you. The office atmosphere is always supportive, and that’s because of you. Thank you for your encouragement, support & belief."
- Sharad Yadav
"I enjoyed working with you a lot. I have worked at many places before this, but I really enjoyed working with you as I got to learn a lot.
The best thing was that you actively engaged us and sought our opinion and ideas about the work that we were doing. This made me feel involved and motivated me to contribute more when I saw some of my ideas actually being implemented.
Your behaviour not just with our team but with every team was similar and you cared about all of us."
- Sana Idrees
Who this course is for:
- New managers
Poor leadership and costs of a poor leader are manifold. A poor leader affects not just themselves, but their team, their leaders, the organisation’s culture, topline and bottomline. The costs of replacing a poor leader are correspondingly multiplied. Hence the need to focus at the first step of leadership.
Here's a short story of my disastrous first leadership experience at the workplace.
"You are ruining my life!" - said my first managee.
I remember the day very well. It was a Friday afternoon in May.....six years ago.
I was stunned to hear those words....because I thought I was doing really well.
I'd constantly challenge her to improve, I'd read up on the latest management books and try out some of the tips, I'd constantly give advice.....I thought I was doing a stellar job.
Little did I realise that what I thought and how it was coming across to her were two very different realities.
Since then, I have gone on to:
- lead cross functional teams of >100 people
- had to earn the respect of a team where all my managees were older AND more experienced than me
- had to fire managees for disciplinary issues
- recruited managees who were better than me at many things
- lead a team of >80% women
- lead a team of >80% men
- lead teams where my managees were much younger than me
- lead teams where my managees where more skilled than me in certain domains
- lead remote teams
- had to handle laying off team members due to project closures
- had multiple of my managees become successful leaders themselves
- am good friends now with my first managee
And it is some of the hardest stuff I have done and also the most rewarding.
I am not here to spout platitudes. Over the years of making many mistakes and reflecting on them, I realised how badly there exists a need to support and guide people in their transition to leading their first teams. Leadership is a difficult craft! It doesn't come through reading books, or talking about it. It comes like any craft, with deliberate practice done the right way.