Before jumping into your new role, think about the best and worst managers you’ve ever had.
Excited because you were just promoted into a people manager role? Congrats. Now you’ll want to think about the type of manager you’d like to be.
Many people don’t do this. They jump from individual contributor to people manager, diving into the new job responsibilities.
That’s not always a bad thing, but it can help you in the long run if you take a little time to consider the types of managers you’ve had and to define the kind of people manager you intend to be.
Think about the worst boss you’ve had. As an employee, what were those traits you didn’t like? Did you have a boss who yelled? Who didn’t listen? Someone who was hardly ever around or rarely provided any kind of feedback? Or maybe the opposite, a micromanager? Make a list of the behaviors of poor managers.
Consider the best boss you’ve had. Why was the person such a great boss? Write down all the positive attributes you noticed. Were they kind? Did they encourage you to develop your skills? Did they coach and mentor employees? Give praise or recognition for great work? Maybe he or she wasn’t even your boss, but you watched them from afar and wished you could have a boss like them. What made that person so special?
Write a list of positive people attributes you want to demonstrate. Think about your new role. If you could fast-forward five years, what would you like your employees to say about your management skills? Write down the characteristics and behaviors you’d want them telling others.
Get your new team’s perspective. Meet with your new team and ask them to share the traits of the best managers they’ve worked for or what they appreciated the most about those managers. More than likely, your team will bring up things you hadn’t even considered. This way, you’ll find out what’s important to them, instead of guessing at it.
Let your team know you will try to do your best. Don’t forget to thank your team for their feedback on the best bosses they’ve had. Let them know you’ll try your very best to demonstrate those great qualities.
Find out how you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to check in with your team on your management performance. A good way to do this is to ask, “What could I do more of (or less of) to help you be more successful in your job?” whenever you meet individually with an employee.
To be an effective people manager, one of the best things you can do is define the type of manager you intend to be. That definition — with attributes, behaviors and values — will be your road map to becoming an awesome boss!