When you start your first gig as a leader you usually need to manage people and steer roadmap of some sort. There is a whole new world around you. Your decisions do not impact only the product anymore, they impact your team now as well. And the ones that impact the product, they now carry even bigger burden than before.
In this post, I want to share my top 3 tips for people that are just starting in this kind of managerial role. These are things that I myself experienced and that helped me establish myself as a leader.
Listen more, talk less
You need act like a sponge most of the time, sucking in as much information as possible. Listen to your people so you can address their concerns properly. Listen to your stakeholders so that you can navigate your department to fulfil expectations. Listen to your peers to compare how are they tackling similar issues.
Person that has enough data can make the correct decision 99% of the time.
Elephant should be your favourite animal
Sounds weird, right? When talking to other (usually experienced) managers, you are the fresh face with the view from outside. This gives you chance to spot lurking problems which others did not spot, just because they have their minds deep in one of many current issues in the company. When you spot this elephant in the room, don’t be afraid to state it.
This behaviour establishes you as a person that fights for change and is not afraid to take different stance when it’s needed.
Empathy empathy empathy empathy empathy
As much as Steve Ballmer wanted to put emphasis on developers, I want to put on empathy. You will inevitably be tasked with improving Statistic A, Process B or Time to deliver C. Make sure that, while you are accelerating your department, you don’t forget to ask how people feel. Being comfortable in work environment is the basis for productivity. By relating to others, you enable yourself to provide such environment to them.
Empathy builds trust, and the journey you take your people on needs to be paved with trust.