Taking on a management role is a big opportunity for any forward-looking entrepreneur. If you have aspirations of running a medium or large business in the future, then your first management role is the perfect arena in which to develop your leadership skills.
Communication is KEY
One of the most important lessons for any business leader to learn is the true value of communication. It is difficult to overstate just what a vital role communication plays in determining success in business. Business leaders who aren’t able to communicate effectively with their workers are always going to be severely limited in their effectiveness. Not only this, but poor communication will stifle your relationships with the workers that you need on your side the most.
There are a number of reasons why good communications are important for managers, and not just on an interpersonal level:
- Show your bosses that you are able to lead and operate efficiently.
- Disseminate information and tasks among your workers more effectively.
- Keep customers updated on developments in your business and new products and services that they need to know about.
- Handle any complaints or feedback from customers.
- Negotiate with other businesses and suppliers more easily.
Communicating with Your Workers
As a new manager, you will no doubt want to make your mark on your business and establish your authority. This is important in the long-term, but the way that you go about it will have a lasting impact on the way that you are perceived and the relationships that you form with those working beneath you.
You want to establish a sustainable long-term approach to communications as soon as you can after taking up a managerial role. It is important that you maintain a consistent approach in the way that you communicate with your staff – if you aren’t consistent, then they won’t be able to adjust their own approach to suit your management style. Consider the following:
- Learn to listen: The first thing you should be aiming to do is to show your workers that you are willing to listen to what they have to say. Listening to and acting on feedback from your workers is important, and it is vital that they have confidence that you will listen to what they have to say and respond appropriately. There is an important difference between listening and waiting for someone to stop talking so that you can begin talking.
- Collaborate, don’t dictate: The way that you phrase things can have a big impact on the way that they are received by a listener, even if there is no difference in your intent. Wherever possible, you should aim to make your workers part of the decision-making process and involve them in important discussions. Managers need to be able to delegate work, but when you are new to a business, this is difficult because you don’t really know the people you are delegating to yet, and you have no idea of their individual strengths and weaknesses. Instead, you will have to rely on your communications abilities to work out what the right approach is.
- Make sure you have the right tools and infrastructure: Like anything else in your business, your communications will be at their best when you have the best possible infrastructure to support them. You should aim to make it as easy as possible for your workers to contact you if or when they need to, and ensure that you make the necessary tools available to them. Exactly what this means will depend on the specifics of your business. For businesses that have a significant number of remote workers, a unified communications system that enables them to utilise any channel they need in order to communicate with their business is becoming essential for modern workplaces.
- Make sure that you are accessible: As well as being careful about the way that you speak to your workers, you should also ensure that you are always accessible and they know they can contact you at any time they need. Remember that listening is just as important as talking; if you aren’t even available to your workers, then you won’t be able to listen to them.
- Lead by example: The way that you communicate with your workers will likely be different from the way they talk to one another, or the way that you talk to your superiors. In all your dealings with your workers, you should strive to set the example that you want them to follow. Asking your workers to do things that you aren’t willing to do yourself is only going to breed conflict between you.
Initiative Will Get You Far
Once you have landed your first management role, it is only natural to begin thinking about the future. If you are ambitious and have your eyes set on career advancement, you will need to learn to show initiative and take charge of your own evolution as a leader.
Always look for new opportunities
After you have gained some experience as a manager, you will find that a whole world of new opportunities opens up to you. These don’t just include business opportunities – any resume looks more impressive with some managerial work on it – there are also academic and educational opportunities that are worth considering. The most obvious of this is the MBA, which has long been highly valued by businesses looking to recruit skilled managers.
However, another excellent option, and one that is often overlooked, is the DBA. Whereas the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) is focused mostly on preparing students for managerial work on a practical level, the DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration) prepares students for both the practical requirements of running a business, as well as conducting the research that informs the way that businesses are run. Click here to find out more about the DBA degree and what it has to offer. Aston University offers a part-time DBA course through their online arm. This is the perfect study option for any students who have other commitments to juggle.
Go above and beyond when you can
Whenever you see an opportunity to do just a bit more in order to make yourself more useful to your employer, you should take advantage of it. You don’t have to go out of your way to make any grand, over the top gestures – you just need to show that you care about your job enough to do it as well as possible.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
If you have an idea that you think can really benefit your business, don’t be afraid to bring it up and pass it up the chain. You don’t have to go directly to the CEO, but there should be some kind of chain of command that you can utilise in order to ensure that your idea gets passed along to where it needs to go.
Fake it until you make it
If you are finding it difficult to show confidence in front of your bosses and put forward your ideas for your business, don’t worry. No one expects you to walk into a business already swinging with the big ideas. In fact, taking this approach can ultimately be off-putting. However, over time you should try to develop your confidence until you do feel that you are able to put your ideas forward with conviction.
Listen to Feedback
When you are new to a management role, it is important that you take some time to survey the landscape and get to know everyone that you will be working with. You should aim to be as receptive as possible to any feedback that you do receive from your workers. You don’t have to agree with them, but you should still try to understand their perspective and try to gently persuade them instead of arguing with them.
Recognise Achievements in Others
When any of the workers you are now responsible for performs well, you should recognise their achievements and make it clear to them that you appreciate their work. Happy workers are more productive, so it is in your interest to keep your workers happy. Making sure to properly acknowledge and recognise achievements is important for maintaining morale and ensuring workers are satisfied with their jobs.
If you fail to recognise achievement within your ranks and reward it accordingly, you will create serious issues for yourself in the future. When good work isn’t rewarded, workers lose their motivation. Worse still, they start to feel unappreciated and in want of an employer who does appreciate them. As a new manager, you don’t want to start losing experienced workers as soon as you take charge. However, if you leave workers feeling like they aren’t appreciated, this is inevitably what will happen.
Joining a business as a new manager can be a daunting experience, but for aspiring entrepreneurs, it also represents a golden opportunity. If you aspire to lead businesses at the highest echelons, then you will need to first prove yourself as a manager. Demonstrating our aptitude for leadership from the very beginning will ensure you ascend the ranks as fast as possible.