You’ve been working as a freelancer and were successful, and now you’ve decided to bring your business to a new level and organize your own team. Or you’ve just launched a startup to bring your great business idea to life. Or, you got promoted to a manager’s position. The fact is, you now have goals to set and achieve, and a team to manage. And you find yourself in a totally new scenario: let alone with new responsibilities, you have new relationships with people around you. How to adapt to it quickly and with minimum hindrance to the work process?
- Delegate – and understand the importance of delegation. If you’ve been working as a freelancer, it’s indeed tempting to keep doing everything on your own. But your new responsibilities won’t allow you to spend a significant part of your time on non-management tasks any longer. Build a team you trust, and let your direct reports do their work. Don’t forget to explain in detail your goals and expectations to your employees and make sure they understand them.
- Find a mentor. When in doubt, your employees will address you and ask what’s the right way to proceed. If you’re in doubt, you’d want to have a person to address to. So find someone who is the type of manager you’d like to be, and reach out to them and see if they are willing to help out.
- Use technology. We all know that financial factor is crucial at the early stages of your startup, and technology costs money. But consider the fact that manual work usually consumes even more time and money than special tools, in particular in accounting, time-tracking, and leave balance calculation. There are affordable and functional tools that will save your team’s time, for example: Wave Accounting for payroll, Slack for team communication, and actiTIME for time-tracking. Increased costs today can save a fortune tomorrow – remember of that!
- Motivate and inspire. Your team is your most valuable asset. So be the example for people you work with, set goals and values, and inspire everyone on the team to tackle their challenges. Being a leader people want to follow is an important part of a manager’s work – so be mindful of your emotions, work hard, collaborate, and receive feedback from people you manage. If you got a promotion, it’s important to remember that your relationships with people who were once your peers now have changed – so be transparent about this and don’t allow personal relationships affect your business.
- Set priorities. Now that you have a team, it seems that you can do literally everything – and that’s true! But that doesn’t mean you can spread your effort too thin over every single task. The startup period is crucial for your business and its future development, so distribute your team’s resources wisely. Determine what’s important right now and what can wait – take your mentor’s advice, if necessary! Communicate the priorities to your reports, make sure they follow through on them, and help your employees figure out to-dos to focus on first.
Of course, there are many important lessons a first-time manager can only learn on their own. Remember that there’s no limit for perfection, and there’ll be still something to learn even when you’ll become a trusted leader who runs a successful business. But these simple tips are key things to realize and implement at the early stages of your management career. They are crucial for your business and its success in the future, as well as for your personal perspectives.
Marina Pilipenko is the marketing manager an actiTIME, the software company, providing a time-tracking solution to companies all over the world. She is passionate about productivity and work-life balance and loves giving tips on how to achieve more. @Marina_Pilip