Do you remember the day you became a manager? Many new managers do not receive the training, coaching, and support they require to excel in their role as people leaders. Real success comes from mastering the five management superpowers, which are all about navigating human relationships.

1. Know the WAY

Before you can do anything well—communicate, solve problems, or be a mentor—you must know who you are. To know the WAY, ask yourself:

• What’s my communication style when I’m calm? When I’m stressed?

• What’s my understanding of emotional intelligence? How do my emotions influence others?

• What’s my leadership style and does it work?

Use these communication best practices often:

• Be brief but specific

• Communicate in a positive manner

• Express yourself calmly

• Engage in active listening

• Acknowledge what the other person says without disagreeing

2. Manage Transitions Effectively

In a workplace context, managers are expected to handle change and transitions even when team members are resistant to change. Your team will remember how you supported them through the adjustment period.

Tips for managing transitions effectively:

• Understand your own reactions to change — How flexible and adaptable are you?

• Communicate clearly and often with employees affected by the change

• Listen to employee concerns about the change

• Help your team understand why the change is happening and what’s expected of them before, during, and after the change

• Be strategic, anticipate issues, and create a plan for handling them

• Manage your change-related stress so you don’t inadvertently transfer your stress onto your team

3. Take Ownership

Employees crave leadership so take ownership of your role and your responsibilities as a leader right away. How do you want to influence your team?

Simple ways to take ownership as a manager:

• Be passionate about your job and enjoy it (or get a new one)

• Learn about your company’s strategic initiatives and share that information with your team

• Set standards for team performance and behaviours, and help people achieve them

• Be or become an effective communicator

• Balance the needs of your organization with the needs of your team and make this tightrope act visible to your team (within reason)

• Be proactive about your personal and professional development by working with a coach and/or mentor

4. Managing Conflict

Managing conflict is often difficult, but it’s the managerial superpower that makes the difference between a good day and developing an ulcer. How do you deal with conflict and what are your typical results? Does your approach generally help or hinder conflict situations? These questions are essential for managers to consider.

There are five styles of conflict management. While it is tempting to label them as good or bad, they can all be right—or wrong—depending on the situation.

• Accommodating – You put the other person’s needs before your own

• Avoiding – You evade the conflict and hope it goes away on its own

• Compromising – You attempt to find a solution that partially pleases everyone involved

• Collaborating – You attempt to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs

• Competing – You stand firm and don’t consider anyone else’s perspective

5. Managing People and Personalities

The first four managerial superpowers are about managing yourself and potentially difficult situations. Now it’s time to talk about the final superpower that brings everything together: managing people effectively.

• Know your people – Go beyond names and get to know your team member’s strengths, challenges, and career aspirations.

• Be a supportive coach – Create opportunities for the team to see you as a sounding board and someone who can facilitate career growth and transitions.

• Provide training and development – Develop a team culture that values training and development opportunities by staying positive about continuous learning.

• Be kind – In a world of increased uncertainty, it’s extra important to be kind. When we are stressed or in a hurry, it is easy to forget the niceties that make human interaction meaningful. Is anyone struggling? Are people getting what they need?

• Look after yourself – Being a manager is rewarding but nobody ever said it was easy! Taking care of your mental, physical, and spiritual needs enhances your life and helps you be a more effective manager.

Leaders reveal themselves through their behaviour. You do not have to be a manager to be a leader, but to be a respected and effective manager, you must be a great leader. By learning and mastering the five managerial superpowers, you will be the best manager you can be.

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