When I became a supervisor for the first time, I was awful. Unfortunately, I learned a lot of bad lessons about management and leadership from someone in my life and the real world smacked me in the face when I tried to implement them. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to get that feedback in my early 20s. By the time I left that job, I had turned things around but I will never forget reading that feedback from my manager, which included anonymous quotes from the staff. That was the beginning of my deep interest in leadership because I never wanted to show up like that again.
Since then, I have unfortunately experienced many awful managers and "leaders" in my career. I eventually knew I wanted to work with others to help them see their leadership blind spots. I want to help create better leaders so no one else will have to be managed by someone like the old me. These interests led me to read lots of leadership books and articles, take countless classes on leadership, and get my master's degree in Organizational Leadership. I am passionate about creating workplaces where everyone gets to do his or her best work in an atmosphere of clarity, trust, and transparency.
Below are 5 of the leadership lessons I learned from my experience as a 22-year-old supervisor:
Put others first. Another way to say this is to practice servant leadership. Effective leaders know that success as a leader is not about them. Rather, it's about those they lead and helping them become strong leaders.
Trust and be trustworthy. Without trust, relationships, teamwork, and general organizational effectiveness cease. Being trustworthy means you are someone upon whom others can count. This involves trust in your word, actions, and heart (having empathy).
Avoid micromanagement. Micromanagement is a sign you don't trust (see #3) and it's often a management style used by new managers because they are unsure of themselves, though I have seen this behavior from older/"more experienced" managers as well. Most people do not respond well to micromanagement. Being an effective leader means your team knows your expectations and they act accordingly regardless of your presence.
Let go of ego. You do not know everything. Additionally, no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Pretending you are "all-knowing" erodes respect and trust.
Make sure people feel heard. This goes beyond being still and listening, though that is part of the process. You need to ensure people feel and are heard, which goes beyond the mere physical act of listening. You must incorporate what you hear into the workplace or explain why it is not possible to incorporate their suggestions at that particular time.
I encourage you and your staff to do a leadership audit. It may be formal 360-degree feedback or it may be less formal. However, learning how those around you experience you is necessary for both your teams and the enterprise as a whole to be effective and successful.