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Do’s and Don’ts for First-Time Managers

Your first management job can be your big break. How do you keep moving up in your company?

By University Alliance
Do’s and Don’ts for First-Time Managers

If you’ve recently earned a promotion to a managerial position, you’re probably both excited and nervous. Excited because you have a whole new opportunity to do well and add value to your organization; nervous because the responsibilities that come with management can be overwhelming at times.

Some of the skills you’ll need to be a great leader come with experience, but most can be learned and perfected with some effort on your part. You’ll probably make a few (or more) mistakes along the way, too. As you start out in your new role, think about these do’s and don’ts to keep the errors to a minimum. 

New Manager Do’s:

  1. Learn how to delegate: Empower your team to take on responsibilities, and give them the tools to be successful. Everyone wants to contribute to the company’s success – your job is to provide leadership to make that happen.
  2. Be consistent: It may take some time for you to make good decisions at first, and you may realize that some were wrong. But overturning your own decisions can cause mistrust and confusion. Take your time to get the facts and inform yourself on an issue before you make a decision – whether it’s how to respond to an email or what to do about an underperforming employee.
  3. Recognize your new relationship with your peers: Supervising friends or former peers can be tough. It’s up to you to communicate what’s changing, as well as your expectations. Set clear ground rules, let friends know that you need to be viewed as fair and consistent, and try not to allow personal feelings to affect your business decisions. 
  4. Know the business: You’ll need a broader understanding of how your organization works from the top-down. Ask senior management about long-range planning and strategy, find out how your team can support the company’s goals, and consider establishing a mentor relationship with a seasoned staff member.
  5. Establish clear goals: As a new manager, you have the opportunity to establish your long-term vision and get everyone on board. You can do this by identifying your objectives, communicating them clearly, involving your team in strategizing how to achieve them, and explaining the importance of their roles.
  6. Work on staff development: Leaders help create new leaders. Instead of keeping everyone in their current role, help them see how they can grow and develop within the company. Work with your employees to identify strengths and areas that need improvement, and then create a plan for developing needed skills and knowledge. Check in regularly to see how they’re doing on their goals.
  7. Establish relationships with other managers: Inevitably, you’re going to need the support of other department heads, whether it’s for moving a new project toward completion or starting a new initiative. Take the time to meet and get to know other managers, and identify ways you can help each other. Work toward building long-term relationships, and you’ll be rewarded.
  8. Be an example: Remember that your team will be watching you carefully, and that you are now setting an example for others to follow. Make sure that your words and actions match your values, and that you handle problems and stress in a calm and positive manner.
  9. Communicate: Solid communication skills can make an average manager great. Take the time to talk to team members face-to-face, when possible. Show them you care and inform them of the company’s bigger picture. You’ll soon have a loyal, productive team.  

Manager Don’ts:

  1. Isolate yourself: You may have a new office, but that doesn’t mean you should spend all of your time in it. Get out and work side-by-side with your team, and show them you’re willing to do what it takes to make things happen.
  2. Take all the credit: Share the credit with your employees for a job well done. 
  3. Think employees are perfect: It will take time to learn your employees’ strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies – and they all have them. If you don’t expect perfection, you won’t be disappointed. Remember, you’re not perfect either!
  4. Try to do it all: As a new manager, you will have a lot to prove. It may be tempting to think that you have to do everything, or projects will fail and reflect badly on you. But remember that you can’t do everything and be everywhere at once. Create an environment where your team is responsible for day-to-day activities, and you provide the leadership and vision.
  5. Get lost in the details: Managers are responsible for the big picture: setting and reaching goals. You won’t have time to know and follow every detail of every project. Micromanaging doesn’t do you, your team or your company any good, so learn to focus on the long-term goals.
  6. Overpromise and under deliver: You might be inclined to prove yourself by reaching too high or setting unrealistic goals. But when you make promises you can’t keep, your credibility suffers. Remember that you’ll be closely watched – especially at first – by those above and below you on the organizational chart. Keep your promises

Remember, you’ve been given managerial duties because you have what it takes to be a leader. As you grow more comfortable in your role, you might want to refer back to these do’s and don’ts, and remind yourself of what it takes to be a successful manager.


Category: Management