Climbing the ladder: accepting your first leadership role

Professional manager at the warehouse

Taking on a new leadership role can be quite overwhelming, and it might be one of the most stressful moments in your career. Accepting the position means you’re no longer responsible for solely your own progress, but you’re now in charge of an entire team. As challenging as this can be, just remember you are in this position for a reason. Today, Josie will help you figure out how to approach this new step in your career.

One of the most important aspects of your decision should be based on whether you know what to expect. Many before you underestimated their new role, and even more have failed and given up – never to return to management ever again. Especially in the beginning, things may tend to feel a bit weird, not just for you, but also for your team members that used to be your equals. You need to realize that some people tend to have a hard time with that power shift, and might even give you the feeling they’re flat out against you all of the sudden. Please remember that it’s also part of the job now, but eventually, it will pass. The most important part is that you need to truly accept you went ahead in the chain of command, while at the same you need to remember where you came from.

Create your own management style

Despite the abundance of handbooks on how to become the perfect manager, the truth is that these books are only there to provide you with handles and are certainly no exact science. We all have role models, and it might sound tempting to copy their management style entirely. Although it’s human nature when we look up to others, we tend to take over their behavior. Remember that you’re an entirely different person with other characteristics that could transform you into a memorable – yet different – leader. Especially in the beginning when you encounter a difficult situation, there’s no harm in trying to figure out how your ideal manager would handle it. Trying too hard, however, will eventually only limit yourself and hurt your potential in the long run. The key here is balance. We fully encourage you to research by discovering the common managerial styles within your industry but don’t try too hard to label yourself. At the end of the day, you were offered this position for being who you are, not for your ability to imitate others.

Interacting with your subordinates

Another stumbling block at the very beginning of your new adventure is finding the right way to communicate with your peers. Again, balance is key here. Although you do need to accept that you’re now above your team in terms of hierarchy, you don’t want to be the manager others see as being a tyrant for abusing their authority. Bluntly said, you only earn respect when taking the lead whenever the situation asks for it. At the same time, there are also moments you need to step down and show them you are humble and, in many ways, still equals. There will be times you need to step up and take responsibility – even if that means taking the blame – while you also need to address others for their wrong-doings. So, how do you know when to make the right call? Honestly, there is no crystal-clear answer to that question. All we can say is the more experience you gain with these situations, the more seasoned of a manager you will become. As long as you can accept that it’s a process of trial-and-error, with the right amount of confidence you will overcome these hindrances and be the top-notch employee you’ve always been– just in a different role.

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