MPW Insider is one of several online communities where the biggest names in business answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? is written by Lisa Carnoy, Division Executive of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.
The best advice I can offer someone moving into a management position for the first time is to listen. As a leader, it’s important to listen to what’s on the minds of your colleagues, clients and peers to get an idea sense of the goals they are trying to achieve as well as the challenges they may face. Listening is also crucial to understand getting a sense of what makes people tick, what motivates them, and what may be keeping them up at night. Here are a few others important suggestions:
Keep it simple
As a leader it’s critical to have a clear-cut plan and set goals. Keep the goals simple, brief and achievable. For many of us, having too many goals can be overwhelming and can actually thwart our efforts to achieve success.
Convey confidence and be sure to communicate the big picture. Don’t assume your team knows what the picture is – take responsibility for keeping them informed on current or changing goals through periodic updates. Be honest about the headwinds that you may face and share your thoughts on how to overcome them.
Reward your employees
Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Take care of your team members — thank them for a job well done, pass credit along freely to others and praise in public. Remember to also take responsibility for failures and don’t ever play the “blame game.” As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for the results of your team so you need to own both the successes and any potential shortfalls.
Create a transparent work environment
Develop a team environment where people feel comfortable speaking openly and challenging each other. This starts at the top — with you — as the leader of the team. Establish a positive, harmonious office environment and you’ll reap the rewards of being surrounded by happy employees who want to work hard, do the right thing and succeed.
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