Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Daunted by the thought of becoming a leader?

If you’re stepping up into your first management or leadership position, you might find it intimidating at first.  Not everyone is a natural leader, but you can build confidence and tackle the new role head on.

Firstly, remember that nobody is perfect. You’re not always going to get it right, and you’ll sometimes have to make brave and sometimes unpopular decisions. As a manager, others will look to you to make the tough decisions and lead the team, so you need to have confidence in your abilities.

Remember that the company has appointed you and have faith that you can do the job. They’ll also know you’re a first-time manager and hopefully be supporting you with management training.

Learn to be authoritative. Start speaking up in meetings, voice your opinion and let your ideas be heard. Consider a voluntary role outside of the company to practice your leadership skills without it affecting your career or how people see you at work.

Be authentic. In any job, you’ve got to make it work with what you’ve got and who you are, and that is what people want to see. If you build a facade, people will see through it. Be authentic and genuine; use the best of your personality to talk to people in a way that makes them feel good and they’ll also feel good about being managed by you.

Get to know your whole team – you’ll feel more comfortable if you know who you’re dealing with. Schedule one-on-one meetings with them and simply have a relaxed, friendly chat. Not only will that help you do your job, but it will also ease their minds, which is good for the whole team.

Learn from others. Find a mentor or peer – someone you feel comfortable with who has been in your shoes. You’ll have a sounding board for any problems and someone to help you learn. Think about your previous managers and the things you like or dislike about their management style. Learn from their mistakes to build your own style.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Don’t be daunted.