Have you just been promoted to first line manager? Congratulations! This means that your performance up to this point is valued by your organization. Someone saw your potential, but with the title of manager next to your name does that mean you’re now finally a leader?
Quite simply, no. You’re not a leader, you just have a leadership title. Here are three tips to start honing your leadership bona fides.
Tip 1: Know the Levels of Leadership
Almost 20 years ago, John C. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership was defined, and it’s been one of the driving philosophies of successful leaders ever since. The levels are a roadmap to understanding where you stand in your leadership with others, and where you need to go.
If you are a newly-promoted manager, you will find yourself squarely at Level 1. But, you don’t want to stay there, as that is where employee turnover is at its highest and retention is at lowest. The problem with Level 1 is that your influence over a team is defined exclusively by the position you hold. People will follow you only because they have to, not because they want to.
Where you want to go next is Level 2. That’s where the people you lead give you permission to lead them and they follow you because they want to. Level 2 is defined by forging connections with others and building long-lasting relationships that motivate those around you to action. And remember, your window to prove your leadership abilities to your team—and to those that put you in the position in the first place—is limited. You need to transition from Level 1 to Level 2 as quickly as possible.
Tip 2: Don’t Settle for Just a Title
The key here is humility. It’s important to realize that a new title is not going to get the best out of the team you lead. You can push people to accomplish tasks through the power of your position, but that will not inspire them to perform above their expected bare minimum.
You should view a title not as an accomplishment, but as an opportunity to grow. In fact, John Maxwell says that as a young leader at Level 1, he grew the most! So, your focus should not be on protecting your title, but the people that follow you. People are an appreciable asset and you need to invest in that asset. Learn about the individuals that make up your team and how you can help them grow. Remember, any authority that you have has been given is for the express interest of improving your team and achieving the goals of the organization.
Tip 3: Earn the Next Level, While You Keep this One
When it happens, and you build that deep and lasting connection with your team, never forget that we began at Level 1 with everyone, and we are always on different levels with different people. New members will join the team and employees in different parts of a company will work with you at varying degrees. That means that you will have to demonstrate your leadership, over and over. But that is not bad thing, as it forces you to constantly refine and improve how you work with people and move up the levels of leadership.
Remember, Level 1 is a great place for you to start in your leadership career. The canvas is clean, and you can experiment to determine the leadership style that works best for you. The cost of failure at this stage is not as high as it will be when your authority and accountability grow. This is one of your first chances to really add value to both your company and in the lives of those around you. Just make sure you make this opportunity count, as that is the way to ensure more exciting opportunities to come.
Ready to take your leadership to the next level? Click here to learn more about our 5 Levels of Leadership Workshop where you’ll dive into John’s 5 Levels and increase your effectiveness as a leader.