Tips For New Managers

Tips for New Managers

Some people strive to reach the management level in their profession and some end up there almost by surprise. One day you are doing your best work to please a client and satisfy the boss. The next day, the boss moves up and out and all eyes are on you to replace her.

Promotion to management can be used as a reward for a job well done and certainly carries a bump in status, too. But it also represents a fundamental change in your career that requires some consideration.

When you move into management, the primary focus of your work day changes. The measure of your success used to be your work product. As a manager, you will now be measured by the quality of the work that other people produce. Your goal each day is to guide them, organize their efforts and facilitate their completion of excellent work.

No pressure! Here are some tips to help you make the transition to management smoothly:

Check your ego at the door
You may be riding high on the wave of compliments that came with your promotion, but that won’t take you far. Humility is the word of the day from now on. You cannot manage employees with a big work ego. (It is like a parent who competes with her kids.) Practice handing your employees the plum assignments and complimenting their work when they are done.

Serve your team
Do not expect the team to serve you because you are the boss, now. Instead, it is your job as the manager to serve them. You need to give your employees everything they require to be successful at their jobs. Clear instruction, training, relevant data…whatever you can give them to help them get the work done. Sometimes this means recognizing a work overload situation and resolving it with more hands on the project.

Exemplify authority
When you have the power to make decisions, you need to carry it with grace. Know when to listen to your team and when to make the “executive decision.” As the manager, you are the official tie-breaker in all votes, but remember that everything should not be voted on. Your authority to lead the team in a particular direction is absolute. Do not be afraid to exercise your authority.

Consider change
A smooth transition means making slow changes. As long as the organization is not in crisis, take some time to learn your new management role by studying the status quo. Figure out how the department handles its work before trying to change the process. When you discover glitches that could be smoothed out, get input from your employees before making changes. You are not seeking their approval for changes, but getting their suggestions for how the work could be done differently will develop some buy-in for your eventual changes and support for your management, in general.

Know your friends
Being promoted from within an organization can create some awkward situations. Suddenly you cannot attend the weekly after-hours because of a management meeting, the contents of which you cannot discuss. You can remain friends with your former co-workers now that you are their boss, but the transition may be bumpy. Be aware of any sign of favoritism when distributing assignments. You may need to talk with your friends about your new role and any awkwardness you feel about the situation. If you approach this conversation with humility, your friends will eventually understand.

Remember when you were there
We always say to ourselves, “when I become the boss, I will never…” Few managers are true to their word or honest with themselves about their new perspective. Every time you make a decision that affects someone on your team, look at the situation from their point of view first. You won’t always be able to do what an employee would want you to do, but you should be able to anticipate and neutralize their disappointment when you don’t.

Like any new job, a management position requires some preparation. Although you’ve watched other managers do the job, it is a change from your previous experience. Give yourself time and grace to get used to your new role. You will probably make mistakes at first. Try to move slowly, so your mistakes are not huge. Learn from them and move forward.

If you are overwhelmed by a new management position and need some one-on-one support, reach out to me. I’m here to help bosses and employers get the most out of their workforce while developing a comfortable, productive work environment.

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