Taking on a leadership position opens many opportunities, but it also creates challenges. To build credibility as a new manager, it helps to start from a consistent, focused position. Here’s how to put yourself in that position.
Believe in yourself.
Promotion to a management position occurs when your supervisors and colleagues believe you have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the position. Remind yourself that you have the ability to learn, and treat new situations as opportunities.
Listen more than you speak – especially at first.
All great leaders rely heavily on active listening. Listening carefully helps you understand key issues, identify potential solutions and determine the best ways to implement those solutions. Perhaps more importantly, listening to your team shows you care about their input and trust their expertise – which, in turn, makes them more likely to trust yours.
Consistency is key to building trust. It also helps you maintain standards and benchmarks by which you can evaluate both your own progress and that of your team. Refresh your knowledge of your law firm or legal department’s policies and procedures, and develop systems of your own to address specific points that aren’t covered by general policy. When in doubt, speak to a more experienced manager for advice – but make sure the systems you use work for your team and help the organization reach its goals.
Bosses boss; leaders lead. A new manager often has many things to learn, and you may find you don’t have all the answers. In this situation, “Let’s figure it out together” is a more productive response than “I can’t help you with that.” Offering to help team members solve problems allows you to learn more and it demonstrates you’re willing and able to get “in the trenches” in order to ensure the team succeeds – as well as keeping your eye on the “big picture.”
At Kent Legal, our recruiters strive to help our clients find outstanding candidates that fit well with their law firm or legal department’s specific needs and goals. Contact us today to learn more.