As a new manager in manufacturing, you have a lot to do. You need to:
Your paramount challenge is working with your team and motivating them to help you do all those things. It’s also your biggest opportunity. As you make this transition into management, keep these six principles in mind:
1. Listen. If you’re in a leadership role and have strong technical skills, you may see solutions to problems quickly and hurry to tell others how to solve them. Team members, however, want to be heard, too. They often can come up with better answers working together than you can on your own. Give them that chance and ask for input.
2. Train and develop. Employees want to know that you care about their career progression as well as your own. Giving them opportunities to build their skills can improve individual and team performance.
3. Delegate, challenge, empower and engage. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Once you prepare team members with the right training, give them more responsibilities and new challenges. By delegating responsibility and transferring some authority, you demonstrate confidence in their abilities and judgment. (Set up a feedback loop, however, to see where employees may need more coaching or support.) Showing strong leadership by empowering your team can result in more engaged employees who take more interest in their jobs and care more about achieving workgroup and company goals.
4. Give credit where credit is due. When you have a high-performing team, your own managers will notice the results. That’s when you need to recognize your team for their creativity in, and dedication to, solving problems and achieving goals. By not taking sole credit, you will develop trust among team members.
5. Don’t cast blame. The flip side of crediting individuals is taking responsibility when things go wrong. Rather than pointing a finger, work with individuals who made mistakes and get them additional training if needed. However, it’s usually the process, not the people, at fault. And you can always work with your team to correct or improve a process.
6. Get a coach. Just as you will coach your team members, find a coach or mentor for yourself. If your manager has good coaching skills, ask him or her for:
You also can network among civic groups and professional organizations to find a mentor. Having an experienced coach who believes in you and wants to help you develop your skills can make all the difference in advancing your career.
These six principles represent just a few skills among the many you’ll learn and put into practice as a new manager. They’ll help you with your ultimate responsibility: achieving results through people.
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