You’ve been promoted and are now leading a team. With a few conscious reminders you can become a respected and successful boss and avoid falling into bad habits that will harm your career, says recruiting experts Hays.
“As a new leader, it’s all too easy to slip unconsciously into poor behaviours without realising it,” says Christine Wright, Operations Director of Hays. “Sometimes people are so keen to prove their leadership skills and make a difference that they forget to stop and think. This leads to poor leadership, which impacts their team and leads to rising turnover. It also has a negative impact on their career prospects longer-term.
“A few conscious reminders can help new leaders avoid falling into such unconscious leadership mistakes,” she said.
According to Hays, respected and successful bosses are:
1. Unique when they lead: “Don’t just try to replicate others,” says Christine. “As a new leader, you need to find your own way; breaking free from stereotypical leadership behaviours marks out a good leader from an average or poor one. So find time to assess your behaviour objectively. Consider your leadership performance in terms of coercion, reward and inspiration. Aim to be a role model who uses your own unique expertise to lead and inspire your team.”
2. Aware of stress triggers: According to Christine, it pays to learn what triggers you to become stressed. “When stressed we do not always make a rational decision but can instead react emotionally. But if you know your stress triggers, you can modify your behaviour and remain calm under pressure. It’s also important to recognise these triggers in your team so you can predict their likely responses and provide assistance when necessary.”
3. Seek out honest feedback: “Leaders are often surrounded by ‘yes’ people who tell you what you want to hear,” Christine says. “So seek out appraisals from trusted contacts inside and outside the business who will talk to you honestly. This will keep you grounded as they will point out objectively what’s happening, what’s going wrong and whether you are part of the problem. 360-degree appraisals can also provide feedback on how your team members feel they are led.”
4. Think globally: “Today’s leaders need to be able to work seamlessly across different cultures. In our globalised economy, good leaders avoid the narrow-minded view that if an approach works in their country it will work in another. Cultural sensitivity is an important competency for leaders today,” says Christine.
5. Exercise: “It can be difficult to find the time to exercise when you take over a new job and are keen to spend long hours at your desk achieving results, but keeping yourself and your brain healthy will build personal resilience and enhance decision-making capabilities and effectiveness,” Christine says. “So get a proper nights sleep and exercise regularly. This will make you a better leader who is less likely to make an irrational or emotional decision.”