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leadership strategy

Leadership Strategy for First-Time Managers

 

Executive leaders use leadership strategy to keep organizations successful in quickly changing environments by using management techniques and the so-called "vision". First-time managers might not turn around the whole organization, but there are certainly lessons to be learned.

 

When I first became a manager, I found myself in a busy time for the whole team. Things happened fast, and my decisions were based on day-to-day activities. I was reacting to my environment, and this was controlling me. It was stressful and made me question if this was the right job for me.

 

Gladly, it lit a fire in me and made me look for ways to do things better. This is where I started to look and learn about leadership strategy. I have been down the path of management now for 18 months. Still short, but many things have improved for myself and my team. We are in better control of our work, it is less stressful, and the feedback from our surrounding teams is positive—a positive sign of continuing.

 

Here is what I learned from leadership strategy, and I hope this will benefit you as much as it has.

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Leadership Strategy and Tactics I Wished I Had Known About

leadership strategy and tactics

1. What Does Good Look Like?

This is, to me, what “vision” is all about. You need to know what the end product looks like to implement appropriate action. To me, this was very simple: No regular overtime, no constant firefighting, and a well-understood workload in the short- and medium-term.

 

Knowing what good looks like allowed me to have a focused assessment of myself as a manager and my team. It boiled down to a distinct lack of process controlling our repeating activities and consistency in how things are done across the team.

 

2. Prioritize Your Needs Over Your Wants

As in our private lives, what we normally need is less attractive than what we want. I would rather want to mingle with top management in my company and look great in the here and now, while I need to spend time with my team to look great long-term.

 

Write down all the things you would like to do. Cross out the vanity activities. Then order all actions by the impact on what brings you to your “visions”. Focus on the top 3 actions to get maximum impact for now. Once they are implemented, go to the next. Be patient, things are not happening overnight, but many things can improve in a 6-12month time frame.

 

In my case, I focused first on implementing and reinforcing a weekly meeting cadence with my team to improve communication and alignment. Then I started to document processes to ensure quality and on-time delivery of my team’s most important outputs. It took over one year to do so but I am seeing the results finally coming in. There is more clarity and less stress among the team, allowing me more time on the next improvement needs on my list.

 

3. Your Leadership Strategy Needs Support and Alignment

The best leadership strategy is nothing if you cannot realize it. And for that, you need support from your own management and your team’s most regular stakeholders. And support will only come if your leadership strategy aligns with the company’s needs and your most important stakeholder’s needs.

 

Prior to implementing your brand-new strategy, you should sit down with your most important stakeholders, best over coffee. Explain your issues, what you are planning to do, and how it is a win-win for everybody. I often got additional recommendations, rarely experienced resistance, and overall, I experienced overwhelming support.

International Association of Women membership
Free work interview preparation for first time manager questions
Career with a View networking event

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