The journey from employee to supervisor can be a challenging transformation filled with complexities. It’s a pivotal shift that requires more than just being a hard worker or excelling in your previous position; it demands a conscious effort to develop leadership abilities and a commitment to continuous learning.
One of the first myths that need to be debunked about leadership is that it is an inherent trait. While some people do have qualities that make them natural leaders, leadership skills can be learned and honed over time. The idea that “you either have it or you don’t” is a dangerous misconception that can hinder growth and development.
Think about the managers in your organization. Are you investing in their growth? Are you setting them up to succeed or fail?
Here are some common mistakes we see with newly-elevated managers and supervisors:
Poor communication is super common for new leaders. Sometimes they fall into no communication at all, or else they only communicate in a way that makes sense to them as opposed to learning the communication styles of their team.
Micromanagement is a common pitfall new leaders often fall into. While it might seem like an effective way to ensure tasks are completed to your standards, it can harm the team dynamic, stifling creativity and autonomy. Instead, fostering an environment of trust and clear communication can lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction.
Avoiding difficult conversations. Addressing uncomfortable things (like poor performance) can be among the most challenging things a leader will face. But ignoring it will lead to unresolved issues and a toxic work environment.
Not building relationships. Sometimes, in the name of being professional, new leaders fail to get to know their team members. But a little camaraderie can go a long way towards building trust and team cohesion!
Ignoring feedback. In the journey of leadership, feedback is a powerful tool for being better. Constructive feedback not only aids in personal growth but also promotes a culture of open communication and continuous improvement. Leaders should not shy away from feedback; instead, they should embrace it as an opportunity for growth and learning.
However, the most overlooked aspect of effective leadership is self-awareness. Regular self-assessments (like the Working Genius) help leaders identify their strengths and weaknesses, adapt their strategies, and make informed decisions. Ignoring self-assessment can lead to stagnant leadership and a lack of progress.
Self-awareness also aids in maintaining a delicate balance between introversion and extroversion in leadership. It’s crucial to understand that both traits have their place in leadership. An effective leader knows when to take a step back and listen and when to take the reins and lead.
It’s essential for leaders to remember that their development does not stop once they’ve reached a leadership position. Continuous learning and adaptability are the cornerstones of effective leadership. Leaders should always be open to new experiences, ideas, and perspectives.
Lastly, it’s important to note that leadership isn’t just about leading others. It’s also about taking care of yourself. Neglecting self-care and personal growth can lead to burnout and ineffective leadership. Leaders should prioritize their well-being and personal development, understanding that their success is interconnected with their team’s success.
The transition from employee to leader may be challenging, but with the right mindset and tools, it can also be an enriching journey. By understanding the common pitfalls, embracing feedback, and prioritizing self-awareness and continuous learning, new leaders can set themselves and their teams up for success.
If you’d like to help set your new leaders up for success, enroll them in our SUPERVISOR 101 training! It’s a one month Boot Camp of essential leadership skills that will make them more effective.
Emma Blankenship is the Chief Strategy Officer at Catalyst Development and a certified career and life coach.