By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
The email offer came through and the management role you applied for is finally yours. All the hard work you put in to reach this point is about to pay off with some exciting management perks.
With the day of the new role quickly approaching, you begin to worry if you are actually ready to take on this level of responsibility and the fear of meeting expectations sets in.
Don’t worry you are not alone, according to research from Harvard Business Review the average age of a first-time manager is 30 while the age of people who have completed leadership training is over 40. This means a decade of leaders are missing out on the opportunity to hone in their leadership skills.
Leadership is becoming even more challenging given the rise in expectations from employees. People don’t want to be handed a list of tasks and told what to do, they want to feel empowered to make decisions and contribute. This means as a manager you need to inspire and motivate performance instead of supervising and control.
Here are five ways to transform you from being a manager into a leader.
1. Check your ego at the door.
A leader will guide by example. Don’t be afraid to pick up the small tasks or what others might not want to do. Just because you are now a leader with a corner office doesn’t mean you can’t get your own coffee or make copies of a presentation to pass out.
Show your team that these actions are valuable by doing them yourself when needed. Simon Sinek’s recent book Leaders Eat Last illustrates the power of leaders who put everyone else first. When a leader is willing to prioritize their team above themselves everyone succeeds.
Pick up the tasks and actions that might not be glamorous or feel “below” your job title. When you do this not only are you getting them done, but you are providing an inspiring example to your team.
2. Learn how to listen to others.
Instead of being the person with the loudest voice in the room, be the one with the biggest ears. The more you can learn to listen to others, the more you will learn and can, in turn, help the team improve.
Practice uninterrupted speaking and listening. Open the floor for someone to speak and listen with the goal of repeating back exactly what they said. When you participate this way, you will listen with the intention of understanding what they are saying, not waiting for them to finish so you can share your own thoughts.
A leader treats decisions as a democracy, not a dictatorship. With your leadership role in place host a weekly meeting that is dedicated to collaborating and pulling together new ideas. Some team members may be less inclined to share ideas on the spot. By having a steady meeting on the books the team can come prepared with their feedback and ideas.
When you practice listening to the team, employees will feel heard and respected.
3. Honor your agreements and deadlines.
If your team doesn’t respect you, it will be very difficult to lead them. Respect is an action…you speak with respect, act respectfully and show respect towards others.
One of the best ways to gain respect is to honor your commitments and stay true to agreements. Years ago I had a boss that said they would help on a project our team was assigned, they were going to reach out to someone for support but never followed through and left the team scrambling to get things done in the end. It was frustrating and created a lack of trust in the relationship moving forward. We all turned away from them as a leader and felt left behind.
Don’t be that manager. Do the right things, and do things right in order to gain the respect a good leader needs. This works in the reverse, say no to the right things and don’t be afraid to speak up if you know you or your team cannot hit a deadline.
4. Take on projects outside of your comfort zone.
Be willing to do what others aren’t.
Discomfort is where growth happens. Society encourages people at a young age to go with the grain and fit in with social norms. As a leader, you must leap into the unknown and take chances where it feels uncomfortable.
When I am about to walk into an uncomfortable situation or do something far beyond anything I have done before I often think of something Will Smith said centered around fear. He was about to go skydiving and felt a great sense of anxiety and fear behind jumping out of the airplane. But once he did it, it was one of the best moments of his life.
Leap past the fears that you have because if you do, you will realize that they’re only standing between you and the best life you can live.
5. Commit to emotional fitness.
Leaders are the person that people turn to in times of panic, stress or struggle. How you emotionally respond to these events will drive the team’s reactions. A manager is likely to freak out or spread panic amongst the team. A leader will remain calm and handle the situation from a place of logic and reasoning. This means, your emotional fitness is everything.
Don’t worry there are some really straight forward ways to get this muscle in shape!
Practice self-care, instill a meditation practice into your daily routine and exercise for physical health. I find that journaling is one of the greatest ways to build emotional fitness. It opens the door for self-reflection and generates a greater sense of awareness within yourself and the situations and people around you. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of your team.
While you step into this new role begin to practice these skills and trust that with patience and dedication your will become a great leader. It likely won’t happen overnight, so stay the course and trust that your dedication will show through and build trust within your team.
For a FREE course to land a new job you love, launch your dream business, or find your purpose, visit https://ashleystahl.com/