Becoming a manager for the first time is an exciting prospect for anyone, whether they’re in a small or large business, but it can be daunting for people who have never officially managed before. What steps can people take in their first weeks as a manager to settle into their new role and make their mark?
Seek advice from a mentor
No-one can be a perfect manager from day one, or year one. Like every position, skills will develop thanks to advice and experience. Have a mentor (such as a respected previous manager) that you can share your experiences with and learn from. “Look at others who seem to be effective and happy in their work [and] ask them for their advice,” advises Steve Bailey, president of America’s National Management Association.
Start with a relationship of trust
If you’re responsible for managing just one person at a small business, or a team of dozens at a multi-national, an ideal starting point is to trust your team and treat them as you would want to be treated yourself. Forbes’ Jessica Kleiman advises to take the best elements for your own manager’s style and adopt them for yourself as a starting point. Meet individually with all of the people on your new team to get to know them, as well as their strengths and their aspirations.
Don’t treat everyone the same way
When managing a team of people, you will learn that each individual is motivated in different ways and what works as an effective motivator for one person may not work for another. “One may be sensitive and hungry for praise; another may be a self-starter who takes constructive feedback well,” Kleiman writes, “so you may have to adapt your communication with each to get the best out of them.”
Use your new power and delegate
Becoming a manager means you now have the power to delegate tasks to others, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it, both for the sake of your own performance and the team’s performance. Harvard Business School’s Lauren Keller Johnson says a good way to delegate is to match tasks with an individual’s strengths and development needs, so your team member enjoys their work and learns while doing it.
Don’t overreach too early
A new manager can be keen to stamp their authority by making large changes to the way a team operates, but it’s not always wise to do so, especially when a team operates well. Take your time to observe the way your new team operates, and the changes that need to be made should become apparent over time.
Victorian Chamber’s two-day ‘The Effective New Manager’ program helps newly appointed managers understand their new role in the workplace, enabling them to accelerate their effectiveness in driving results by engaging others.
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