Dos And Don'ts For First-Time Managers
Article / At work

Dos And Don'ts For First-Time Managers

Have you landed your first management position? Congrats! It’s a career milestone. It means you’ve proved you can handle responsibility and that your organization trusts you to oversee direct reports. The first weeks and months in your new role will be the most challenging, but they can also set you up for success and satisfaction in your management career down the road.

Here are a few new manager dos and don’ts to help guide you through the early days on the job:

Do:

1. Ask questions (and listen)

“I became the best manager all by myself.” Said no manager, ever. Knowing when to ask questions to improve in your job is key to your success as a new manager. While slowly developing your own management style is a good idea, we also suggest that you find a trusted mentor to show you the ropes and field your questions.

2. Lead by example

The best way to earn the trust of those that you manage is to lead by example. Practice what you preach. Walk the talk. There are many ways to say it, but they all mean the same thing: you can’t inspire a team to trust and follow you if you are not a role model.

3. Communicate well and often

Building relationships with your team is key, and the best way to do this is through frequent, clear and honest communication. Getting to know your employees will help you find out what motivates them. Set up both one-on-one and team meetings frequently to make sure you and your direct reports are consistently on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Don’t:

1. Forget the big picture

Chances are, you may have once done the job(s) of your new employees. You were probably really good at it, too, hence your awesome promotion to manager. While it’s still important for you to roll up your sleeves and work alongside your team when necessary, you now have broader responsibilities. Shift your focus away from the minutiae of each employee’s daily responsibilities (let them take care of that) and consider the bigger goals at hand to avoid becoming a micromanager.

2. Let emotions get in the way

Knowing how to stifle anger, tears, outrage, impatience—and all of those other nasty emotions we experience on any given workday—will help you tremendously as a manager. Why? Your employees need to see consistent and calm responses to situations, not knee-jerk reactions. The difference is in the trust you will build among them and the decisions that will come out of a more rational and logical mindset.

3. Play favorites

Work to establish your reputation as a fair, unbiased manager early on in your career. Be invested in your employees professionally, but not personally. For new managers who find themselves managing people that they recently worked alongside and perhaps even socialized with, this can be tricky. While it’s not necessary to end those relationships, it is necessary to have an honest conversation to make sure you’re both on the same page about how your relationship has changed at work.