TIME is your most precious resource when you are making a leadership transition to a new job as a manager of a team or a group.
This is because you only have about 90 days to show your mettle. Even a new President of the United States is typically given 100 days to prove his worth to the media.
As a new manager, expectations from all your stakeholders, supporters and detractors will be high. Hence, in addition to picking up leadership and management skills quickly, you have to think in terms of the 5Rs – a practical model pertaining to leadership transition.
Set aside quality time to do research on your new role. Besides clarifying the responsibilities of your new job, you need to understand the big picture and see how your role connects to your organisation’s strategic objectives.
Brush up on your knowledge. Get up to speed on what the macro issues, challenges, key success factors and broad trends are going forward, and how these would impact your role and your company.
As a manager, your job is to get results through the energy and expertise of other people, whether they are your team members or colleagues. You need to adopt a new mindset – different from that of an individual contributor. Think about the type of leader you want to be.
You have to understand the situation that you will face when you take on a new leadership role.
Develop some insights about potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as they relate to your business unit. Begin by identifying the issues and challenges that need to be addressed and prioritising accordingly. Then, make the necessary decisions with regard to revamping, redirecting and reinforcing various aspects of your business unit.
Keep the big picture in mind. Stay open and objective, and get the information you need to make the right decisions. Talk to your stakeholders and obtain as many perspectives as possible. Seek advice where necessary. Get on an accelerated learning curve quickly, and work hard.
Be proactive in reaching out to your boss and other key stakeholders to align various sets of expectations. For example, you need to know your boss’s objectives and key priorities. Only then can you develop your strategies accordingly.
Score some quick wins in the first couple of months to position yourself as an achiever, and gain credibility with your boss and your team.
As part of your dialogue with your boss, you need to request and negotiate for resources – the logistics, people and budgets required for the successful execution of your plans.
Identify, source for and secure critical logistical resources in a timely manner. You may have to recruit talent from outside the company, or make internal transfers to your team.
Above all, do not forget you have to be fit to handle the demands of your leadership transition. Eat well, rest well and exercise well. Your family and friends would be your best social support system during this time.
To gain traction, build your support network quickly, seek alliances and identify coaches on your team who can guide you.
Get up to speed with the communication processes in the organisation and leverage on them. Every organisation has their ways of getting information around – both formal and informal channels. Use these channels to build relationships and build your profile in a positive way.
Your supporters would make ideal trusted advisors. However, you should also reach out to the people reporting directly to you, and solicit their advice and ideas sincerely.
Be aware of the office politics and navigate it with finesse by establishing which employees are supporting you, and determining those who need to be persuaded or are not aligned with your vision.
In some cases, you will be managing former peers. You need to figure out an effective way to work with them, taking into account that some of them could have been passed over for the job which was given to you.
The essence of leadership is influence. To be able to influence others, you need to have good relationships with them. Learn how to build and sustain a strong relationship network in your organisation. It is crucial to your success as a new manager.