Congratulations! You’ve just been promoted or selected for a new leadership role, and you’re ready to embark upon the next phase in your career as a new manager of a team.
How can you set yourself up for success as a new leader?
Start by setting the following goals that focus on your team, your career, and your continued personal development:
1. Prioritize time on your calendar to meet your new team.
Within your first few days as a new leader, schedule a meeting with each of your new team members to get to know them — and to listen. Ask about their hobbies, their career goals, what they like or don’t like about their job, and if they have any ideas about what could be improved.
It’ll be easy to get lost in your new responsibilities and the plans for achieving your own goals, but never forget that it will take a team to help you get there.
Your team will be more engaged and committed to your success and overall company performance if you earn their trust and confidence, show a genuine interest in their wellbeing, and help them to connect their job to organizational goals.
2. Schedule 3 – 4 networking calls or meetings each month.
As a new leader, you’ll benefit from building relationships outside of your company through professional associations, alumni groups, and online social networks. Building a strong network is one of the most effective ways to grow your career, and these connections can provide you with a variety of perspectives throughout your career.
It’s important to be intentional about networking and connecting, and you should consider it an ongoing career development activity. Don’t wait until you’re in a time of need (such as beginning a job search) to get started, and make sure you prioritize your networking meetings by scheduling — and protecting — networking time on your calendar.
3. Choose your mentors and create a formal process for each relationship.
Billionaire business leaders Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey, as well as former PepsiCo Chairman & CEO Indra Nooyi have all benefitted from the wise advice and counsel of mentors throughout their careers, and so can you.
The right mentor can help you navigate tricky career decisions and connect you with people in their network who can open doors or create opportunities.
When choosing a mentor, seek out individuals who will be supportive but also frank with their advice and counsel. The best mentors are able to listen, serve as a sounding board, and share their perspective and experiences to position you for success.
Once your mentor has agreed to help you, be intentional about your relationship. Establish how often you’d like to connect in-person or on the phone, what your goals are for the process, and anything that you may be able to provide your mentor in return.
Keep in mind that your experiences and insights are valuable as well, and mentoring relationships should be mutually beneficial.
4. Read two to four books each month.
As you step into your new responsibilities, you’ll want to quickly get up to speed on everything you need to know about your company and your role, which will involve plenty of reading and studying. But to keep your thinking fresh and your mind creativity engaged, it’s important to not fall into the trap of turning off outside influences.
Daily reading can challenge your thinking and open your mind to possibilities, and it’s also been documented as a key success habit by author Tom Corley. For five years, Corley studied the daily habits of both extremely successful people and those living in poverty. The results were documented in his best-selling book Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals and revealed that 88% of self-made millionaires in the study spent at least 30 minutes each day reading to learn.
It doesn’t matter where you’re getting the information—it could be Facebook or Twitter. The important thing is that you’re educating yourself.
~ Tom Corley
The habit of reading every day actually grows your brain and increases cognitive abilities. In other words, it makes you smarter 💡, while also developing your leadership qualities.
5. Take 10 minutes each morning to journal about the previous day.
Starting each day with a few moments of self-reflection is a great way to mentally prepare for a positive and productive start to your day by clearing out mental cobwebs, refocusing on what matters and intentionally setting yourself up for success. Daily writing can provide a cathartic release valve for the stresses of your daily life, and it can also be a powerful tool to assist you in evaluating your current circumstances, as well as your future goals and dreams.
In the book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, the authors assert that keeping a daily journal of work activities is one of the best strategies for learning about yourself and improving your professional performance over time.
A daily journal can also serve as a reference when the time comes to present your accomplishments (such as pitching yourself for a promotion), and it can also be helpful to look back to identify trends and personal growth, and to reflect on what you’ve learned along the way.
Based upon my experience coaching and working with high-performing leaders for the past 30 years, I can assure you that setting and implementing these five goals will not only be helpful to you in getting off to a great start as a new leader, but they’ll also benefit you throughout your entire career.
As a keynote speaker and leadership coach, Jennifer McClure helps leaders to embrace the future of work, and to develop the skills necessary to lead their organizations and the people on their teams to take bold actions that positively impact business results.
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