As you shift into a position of leadership in your career, you might feel the extra responsibility in the form of stress, nerves or doubt. It is completely natural to feel uncomfortable, yet eager, to move up the corporate ladder. Your first time as a manager, especially as a new hire, can be very overwhelming. Yet, having the confidence to be decisive in your job is going to be essential to your success.

Invest in Your Employees

As a manager, you will delegate tasks and oversee projects. It is important that you do not focus on what you can get out of your employees right from the start, but rather what you can put into them. You need to look at what you have and consider how you can take each one to the next level. It is only in having a strong team that you will really become a strong leader. When you put that effort into developing your employees, they will have more respect for you and what you can do for them as a leader.

Don’t Micro-Manage, But Don’t Take a Back Seat

There is a big difference between a leader that is good at setting direction and managing employees, and a leader that tries to control every project and task. Be the leader that relies on your team to do their jobs and don’t cause frustration by breathing down employee necks with micro-management. An agile manager is responsible for reducing waste and guiding their teams towards succinct solutions. Stay on track and communicate clearly with S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Specific – Don’t fall into the chasm of poorly defined goals. Establish a “what” that is defined by numbers, percentages or hard terms that aren’t vague.
  • Measurable – Define how your goal will be measured a success or a failure. Give a very specific way you and your employee both feel the goal can be accurately measured at the given time.
  • Attainable – Only set realistic goals that you and your employees have control over.
  • Realistic – Don’t get carried away. Set goals that are well within your company reach and have every reason to be successful.
  • Timely – Establish checkpoints and a final deadline for every project. A never-ending project can’t be measured and it will be unclear if it was a true success or failure. Pre-determined checkpoints along the way will help employees stay on track, keep you in the loop and avoid a last-minute surprise failure that makes you look bad with project management.

Know Your Strengths to Increase Agile Productivity

Why were you hired? Now is the time to know yourself like never before. Not only will a list of personal corporate strengthshelp you gain more self-confidence at becoming an agile manager, but that list is essential in knowing what tasks you should take on and what you should delegate. Agile project management requires managers know their strengths and are able to appropriately give tasks to other employees to improve productivity.

In the past, you’ve probably seen company owners that want to have their hand involved in certain projects they aren’t actually best at doing. How often does the company owner want to head website design or help create the marketing copy with no real experience as an advertising or copywriting professional? When you don’t allow your best assets to do their best work, then you become a poor leader who puts your own wants above the company’s needs. This usually makes the process sluggish and the results mediocre. It is essential to an agile framework that every employee is able to trust their peers to accomplish their own tasks without oversight or the entire system fails.

Offer Praise and Acknowledgement

One of the biggest reasons employees leave their jobs, is due to feeling unappreciated and stuck. Study after study has found that often it is the intrinsic rewards (like acknowledgement) that matter more to employees than extrinsic rewards (raises or bonuses). While the occasional carrot-on-a-stick can certainly get things moving, make sure you are putting in the personal time and effort to know your employees and motivate them within through rewards that will help them not burn out or grow complacent. With an agile project management structure, you can help employees realize their value as they work independently to accomplish the tasks they are best suited for.