10 Aug 7 Simple Survival Rules for First-Time Managers
Written by Karla Cook
Marketing agencies across the U.S. are in the midst of a revenue boom. In 2015, agency revenue increased 6.5% to a record $46.8 billion. This means more hiring, more promotions, and more new leaders trying to find their footing in the challenging agency landscape.
Taking on a new position of power can be a massive adrenaline rush, but the excitement can sometimes get overshadowed by feelings of inadequacy and panic. Did the agency make a hiring mistake? Can you actually handle this new responsibility?
Just know that you’re far from alone.
Being exposed as incompetent is actually the number one fear of executives worldwide.
Especially in the early stages of your new position, it can seem like an endless battle to push through those uncomfortable feelings. These seven survival tips can help you build your confidence and succeed early as a new leader.
7 Rules to Help New Managers Succeed
1) Don’t get hung up on your own perceptions of how you’re doing.
This is not to say that you should be recklessly unconcerned with your own performance, but you shouldn’t be obsessed with it. In fact, falling too hard into what psychologists call aperformance mindset often means getting stuck in a cycle of feeling inadequate and limited by your own failures.
When you magnify your shortcomings and allow them to cripple your confidence, you forget that you’re capable of improvement. And when that happens, you actually stop trying to get better.
Instead of letting your own performance dominate your thoughts and drive you completely crazy, why not put your energy into actually learning the ropes of your new gig? What you see as shortcomings and fixed flaws are actually just opportunities to get better, as cheesy as that might sound at first.
This all just requires a simple mindset change: View each challenging task as a chance to improve on a skill, rather than something that might set you up to fail.
2) Check your ego at the door.
When a promotion suddenly places you above colleagues who were your peers, things can understandably get a little awkward. You want to prove that you deserve your newfound position of influence, but it’s important to remember that your new title doesn’t automatically come with instant leadership qualities and respect.
The best thing you can do is approach your new role with a humble attitude, a learning mindset, and an open mind. You were promoted because your company’s higher-ups saw potential in you, but that doesn’t mean you know everything or that everyone below you somehow knows less. In fact, the best leaders understand that they aren’t always the smartest person in the room.
Keeping your ego under control will help people respect you more, and it will take off some of the pressure you put on yourself to always perform optimally. It’s not your job to always have the correct answer or the perfect foolproof plan; it’s your job to bring out the best in those around you.
3) Give yourself a frank self-evaluation.
Before you can begin to truly thrive in your new role, you need to take stock of where your leadership skills currently stand. Most people think they have a better understanding of their own abilities than they actually do, and this can be a big problem for new leaders. In self-evaluations, people tend to “overestimate what they can accomplish and overvalue what they’ve already accomplished.”
So how can you overcome this unconscious bias and take a good hard look at your skill level? Start by asking yourself what aspects of your new role seem the most unnatural to you. Avoid passing judgement on yourself. Identifying where you feel insecure or less confident is an effective way to get a better understanding of the boundaries of your comfort zone and where you need to improve.
4) Approach everything like a beginner.
Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki famously wrote, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”
If you approach your new role with the assumption that you’re already an expert, you unconsciously close yourself off to new learning opportunities. You’re letting yourestablished beliefs derail any chance to absorb new information that could make you much better at your job, just because you feel threatened.
Having the mindset of a beginner in a new leadership position is especially important as it allows you to remain eager, open, and receptive to new information. Being a successful leader hinges on being able to put your preconceived notions aside in the face of facts or people who challenge assumed information. View Full Article >>