Insights into First-Time Leadership

Blurred abstract background
Alison Gretz Avatar

It’s likely no one taught you HOW to be a Manager of other humans.

The one promise I have for you if you are considering Management, especially in Design, is that the journey is filled with personal personal growth and skill enhancement. There are a set of skills that you can start to hone now, as you consider your path towards securing that first Manager role. DesignbyDesign also offers a course on Manager Fundamentals with Design Leadership veteran Alison Gretz (me! Hi!).

The Art of Impactful Feedback

A skill that sets the foundation for effective leadership is the ability to give and receive feedback. Managers must master the delivery of constructive feedback that spurs growth and improvement, reminiscent of the principles discussed in my blog post on radical candor. New Managers have to excel at giving feedback in familiar forms like Design Critique, and need to now learn how to give truly effective feedback to the humans they lead.

Building Leadership Confidence

The transition to leadership often brings a wave of self-doubt or imposter syndrome. It’s essential to cultivate a sense of confidence that stems from within yourself, independent or your role or job. Understanding your role in facilitating team success broader than the craft, and not just possessing all the knowledge but learning how to facilitate others in their work. Our Manager Fundamentals course begins with establishing your leadership foundation and self-management.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

A Manager’s emotional intelligence significantly impacts their leadership effectiveness. In fact, a direct Manager has the biggest impact on their Direct Reports wellbeing at work. Just as technical skills are honed, so too must managers learn to navigate the complex emotional landscape of their teams and take on responsibility for their impact.

Leading vs. Doing: Finding the Right Balance

New managers must learn the delicate act of coaching rather than doing. This pivot from individual contributor to a leader who empowers their team is a critical transition, necessitating a balance between involvement and delegation. This is where new leaders tend to swing between some micromanaging tendencies, or leaning too far out in order to avoid being perceived as a micromanager.

Sustaining Leadership Stamina

The responsibilities of management can be weighty, and maintaining resilience is key. Leaders must find sustainable ways to manage stress and workload, ensuring their longevity and effectiveness in their roles. Self-management alongside the emotional intelligence muscles you’ll be building becomes critical – as staying consistent as a leader ensures you maintain “executive presence” and maintain trust.

Embracing Continuous Leadership Learning

The hallmark of a great manager is the recognition that learning never stops. Continuous improvement and adaptability are traits that are nurtured over time, often through courses and resources dedicated to expanding managerial competencies.

As you embark or continue on your leadership path, consider enriching your managerial toolkit with structured learning like a Manager Fundamentals Course (shameless plug, our’s is a good one!). Gain knowledge quickly to leap-frog some of the transitions that cause new Managers to stumble.

Leave a Reply

Leadership Values Workbook

Discover the Values at the center of your leadership style, to unlock

Get Emails from DbyD: