It’s not easy starting something new—especially when you’re the new kid on the block. Black bear cubs are born blind, covered in fine hair and weigh about 8 ounces. In one year, they’re about 80 pounds, and about 6 months later, they leave the family unit in search of a new area to enter, grow, and produce with purpose. Think of this as your time frame as a first-time manager—here are three-pointers that I’ve been through and learned from, which will help guide you through this process.
Mark your Identity
There is no use in beginning to make moves, set direction, or create an agenda if you do not know what game you are playing. What’s worse, you can actually undermine your future in the process—sometimes beyond recovery.
It’s chief importance to find yourself and mark your identity as a first-time manager. Make it known to others. Be consistent in it. This identity will be driven by your natural leadership style. Sometimes this means acknowledging what your leadership style isn’t.
Own the Moment and Build Momentum
Many must wait their entire careers for that shining moment, however brief it is, that enables them to reach ‘the next level’. If you miss this opportunity, you may have to wait another prolonged period of time for it to present itself again. Worse yet, it may never come again. If presented with a key moment, one where you have the opportunity to establish yourself, be sure to own it.
Much like a snowball, the momentum from this win can be used to further the goals of the organization and yourself, where team members are in sync, trust each other, and are more open to rerouting any personal biases or resistance that may have been established in the past.
Understand the Power Grid
Politics is people. Politics get amplified when stakes are on the line and increasing numbers of people are fighting for them. It’s important to make it clear to your team and superiors that it’s not a zero-sum game and that there is a collective ideal present. One way to get this message communicated is understanding who holds the most influence within the organization—whose voice is loudest. Getting these members on board is key to influencing the most amount of people within an effective time frame.