Not many leaders enter into their roles custom-built and bred for the task. For most, leadership is a thing that is just thrust upon people, and they learn as they go. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Anthony K. Tjan shares leadership advice garnered from studying the philosophies of 100 of the world’s most respected leaders. He distills it into five areas of focus for new managers:
- Establish your leadership philosophy.
- Focus on the day-to-day of management and leadership.
- Be clear about your communication and your top priorities.
- Set common values and standards.
- Remember that it is okay to be afraid or vulnerable.
The Leadership Starter Pack
The best leadership philosophy is one that fixates on helping the people below you. Authority should be seen as the power to help people achieve goals, as opposed to the power to merely get what you want. In fact, great leaders typically make it their aim to cultivate more leaders. But they also have to ensure that they are delivering business results, of course:
No question, the best leaders are also the best mentors. But the day job of management and leadership involves allocating limited resources, whether it’s dollars, time, or people. Are you budgeting dollars in areas that create the best long-term value? Are you scrutinizing your time in terms of its effects and returns? One of the best exercises I practice is doing an audit of my calendar to see how the time I’ve invested maps (or doesn’t) to my top priorities.
Tjan recommends never having more than five top priorities, and that you only add a new priority once one of your existing ones has been realized. Hitting big priorities requires focus and a team that understands your motivations, so get precise with your communication style. For instance, in meetings, state up front if a meeting’s goal is to inform, get input, or get approval.
It might be a good practice for your team to subscribe to some common values. An adherence to truth, compassion, and self-awareness might be a good start. Part of self-awareness is acknowledging that you are entering into uncharted territory and it is okay to be apprehensive. You can only do your best, informed by the insights that you have.
You can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2017/05/5-things-new-managers-should-focus-on-first