7 Challenges That New Managers Need to Prepare For

Jul 23, 2021


By: American Management Association

Many people work hard for a promotion into management. Unfortunately, many of those same people aren’t prepared for how hard they’ll have to work after they’ve achieved that coveted promotion in order to be perceived as a manager by their staff, peers and senior management. Not surprisingly, the transition from individual contributor to manager can be stressful, as numerous studies have found. According to one study by an HR consultancy, nearly six out of ten managers rated the stress level of being promoted to manager as second only to dealing with a divorce.

Having the title of manager doesn’t automatically confer power, privilege or respect. But the title of manager can secure such recognition and launch a rewarding career for those who are prepared for the challenges that accompany their new role. A world leader in professional development for nearly a century, American Management Association (AMA) has identified seven challenges new managers commonly face and offers tips to help overcome them:

1. Managing expectations
Knowing what your team—and senior management—expects of you is every new manager’s first order of business. Working conscientiously to manage and meet those expectations greatly affects a new manager’s success.

2. Establishing credibility
Amidst all the stress, it’s easy for new managers to feel insecure and question their own ability. As a new manager, it’s important to remember: You got the promotion because you earned it. Find confidence by taking stock of your past leadership experiences and your outstanding skills. To be seen, heard and believed as a manager, bring your expertise to the job every day.

3. Balancing technical and management expertise
Being a manager requires a new set of skills. As a manager, you are no longer responsible for producing—now, your job is to get things done through and with other people. Your success isn’t just measured by what you do, but by what your staff is able to achieve. Avoid the pitfall of micromanaging your staff’s work, and instead give them the guidance and space to succeed.

4. Finding rewards in different places
As a new manager, you might at first miss being recognized for your individual contributions and achievements. You may not always feel the same sense of accomplishment you felt as a staff member. For your own job satisfaction, look for other rewards—perhaps in how you’ve helped your staff work through a conflict or improved your team’s ability to work together.

5. Managing time
As a new manager, you still have to manage your own time efficiently. But now, you rely on your staff’s ability to make efficient use of their time as well. Be aware of how the demands you place on your staff affect your own time management. Work to make it easier for them to meet deadlines and give you the information you need on time.

6. Managing change
Yes, change can be stressful. Yet, it’s unavoidable and pervasive. As a manager, one of your new roles will be that of a change agent. So, get comfortable with change. Not only will you be called on to implement change—sometimes exciting, sometimes unsettling—but you must be prepared to help your staff accept change and support them through it.

7. Supporting risk-tasking
Taking risks is the key to achieving breakthroughs. Be an example by taking risks and taking action to get results—and encourage your team to follow. Recognize that allowing your team to make mistakes can often lead to the most creative solutions.

A new manager’s job is stressful. Being aware of and ready to handle common challenges if and when they arise will help ease that stress and smooth the transition. Above all, do not expect too much too soon. As a new manager, give your staff and upper management time to adjust and see you in a new way. Be patient with yourself too.


About AMA

American Management Association (AMA) is globally recognized as a leader in professional development. For nearly 100 years, it has helped millions of people bring about positive change in their performance in order to improve results. AMA’s learn-by-doing instructor-led methods, extensive content, and flexible learning formats are proven effective—and constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations. To learn more, visit www.amanet.org.