Whether you’re new to management or transitioning into the role from another one, you must adopt the proper mindset and prepare yourself by developing fundamental new skills. From the outset, you need to be recognized as a confident, trustworthy, qualified leader who can motivate and coach people, communicate with them, promote collaboration and teamwork, manage performance—and flex those skills depending on the particular challenges you will face.
As a new manager, the first thing you should do is recognize that you are going from an individual contributor reporting to someone else who has immediate responsibility for results, to managing how you and your team deliver those expected results. This awareness is fundamental to the success of your management career.
In addition, you must become “comfortable with the uncomfortable;” that is, you are going to encounter any number of problems depending on the specific circumstances and the personnel you’re dealing with. However, since you have accountability for resolving challenges and overcoming obstacles, you need to anticipate and accept that your work may regularly take you out of your comfort zone.
As a manager, your job is less about the work itself than managing the person doing the work. When circumstances become more challenging, you must still be mindful of maintaining your credibility, managing the high expectations senior managers as well as your team have of you, and performing all your other management duties such as coaching, delegation and performance feedback, with the same consistency and effectiveness.
New Manager Don’ts: Avoid These Mistakes
As you seek to “do all the right things” as a new manager, you may inadvertently make mistakes you wouldn’t typically make. Keep the following pitfalls in mind:
- Don’t Be a Pest—No one on your team wants to be micromanaged or pestered about a job they’re expected to do. Empower them to take the initiative they need to get the job done, and then trust that they will accomplish the goal.
- Don’t Spy on Employees—Never try to gain more insight into an employee’s behaviors by looking in areas that don’t concern you, such as their personal lives or interests. Once you have lost their trust, it may not be possible to get it back. Respect their privacy.
- Don’t Overstep Boundaries—Never expect the unreasonable from an employee, and don’t presume to infringe on their work-life balance.
- Don’t Set Vague or Unclear Expectations—Employees can only deliver the goods if they know what they are. Be clear about goals and deliverables, and specific about what you expect from the employee, and when you expect it.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind in order to make your transition to management easier and less overwhelming.
Give Yourself Grace
You’re not going to become an expert manager immediately, so don’t expect to. Set realistic goals for yourself and regularly evaluate your progress, but don’t set goals that are unattainable within a certain timeframe.
Know Your Management Style
Have the self-awareness to recognize your own management style. If you have particular habits or tendencies that might de-motivate or annoy team members, learn to read the signs from your people, and work to adjust your behaviors.
Treat Your Team with Respect
People are your most important asset, so respect and support them in every way possible. Give them the space and freedom to learn, to make mistakes, and to develop and grow. If you respect them, they are far more likely to respect and trust you and reflect it in their performance. Also be sure to demonstrate that you want to support them in their career.
Learn to Manage the Positives and Negatives
Being a manager isn’t always about delivering negative feedback. It’s also important to acknowledge when positive performance has been achieved, and not just in yearly performance reviews.
Be Open to Feedback
Accept input, suggestions and feedback from both your team and your direct manager. It’s also healthy to directly solicit their feedback in order to show you’re actively trying to improve and get better.
Effective people skills are essential since managers are responsible for leading teams to success. You must be able to establish a good working rapport with everyone on your team to achieve the best results. More seasoned managers have developed and enhanced these skills through years of experience, but it’s something you must develop and implement from the start. Again, trust that is lost is difficult to rebuild.
In addition to effective people skills, there are additional core capabilities to develop:
A wide range of problems in organizations can be traced to communication issues. You must be able to communicate clearly, effectively and concisely with everyone on your team (as well as senior managers) on a consistent basis. This starts with interpersonal skills but also includes written, verbal and presentation skills—and more.
The ability to gain valuable emotional insights and awareness is crucial to being able to inspire and maintain productive relationships, so emotional intelligence is key to your success as a manager. Without it, your relationships with employees will lack empathy, optimal collaboration, genuine inclusiveness, credibility and other key components of success.
As someone who is responsible for contributing to organizational results, you must have a solid “big-picture” awareness and knowledge of how a business operates, from customer focus and finance to strategy execution and project management.
Managers get work done largely through delegation. Not delegating or over-delegating can lead to a dysfunctional team; you must know what tasks to delegate to which team member or members for the best chances of success.
You and your team will face challenges that do not have immediately recognizable solutions. It’s essential to know how to think critically and objectively in order to brainstorm and target solutions so that you can solve problems and overcome obstacles.
It is your responsibility as a manager to share results and key information with both your employees, senior managers and where appropriate, the entire organization. Strong presentation skills are vital for conveying this information in the most impactful and effective way possible.
Your employees expect and need feedback, both in terms of their performance as well as their personal professional development. To get the most from your team, you must manage performance expectations and accountabilities as well as recognize excellence in performance, along with opportunities for improvement.
As you’ve seen, successful managers need a broad range of vital skills. Jump-start a successful management career with knowledge, skills and behaviors offered in our most popular courses, including:
Management Skills for New Managers
AMA’s most popular management course, it offers you the opportunity to learn and practice applying the essential skills new managers must have. Guided by an expert AMA course leader, you will learn how to apply this knowledge to your specific job situation.
The 7 Habits for Managers: Essential Skills and Tools for Leading Teams
Renowned as the world’s premier personal leadership development and training program, this course aligns timeless principles of personal effectiveness with the relevancy of today’s practices as well as modern technology. Though ideal for managers at all levels, it is especially useful for someone who is beginning their management career.
How to Communicate with Diplomacy, Tact and Credibility
As a new manager, it’s particularly important to know how to make your communications work to your advantage. Learn to choose and use the most appropriate words and emotional tone for every business interaction, and gain a greater insight into your communication style and the style of others.