Taking on a manager or leadership role for the first time can be daunting. You’re in charge of an entire team, and its successes and failures fall largely on your shoulders. Even though it can be intimidating, it’s important to start on the right foot.
If you’re a first-time manager, you’ll want to prove to your company why you were the best person for this position. Begin your new career path successfully by following these tips from expert managers from Young Entrepreneur Council.
1. Build Trust And Rapport
It’s so important to develop trust and rapport, and there’s no better way to do that than by asking questions and really getting to know your employees. What drives them (both at work and outside of it)? What do they most enjoy? What do they want to learn? At the same time, I’d suggest bringing your full self to the table and sharing your interests, motivators and vulnerabilities. These kinds of conversations are likely to foster connections that will ultimately create alignment and build a forum for more effective and empathetic communication moving forward. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep
2. Strive To Be Respected
I tell new managers that it’s more important to be respected than to be liked. Of course, you want to strive to be polite, empathetic and caring, but it’s always best to start off as a strict manager and then loosen up later if appropriate. Everything as a manager comes down to accountability. If you address things as soon as they pop up, then there will be no surprises down the line in performance reviews. Everything you write in a performance review should have already been addressed verbally. Two great books on this are The One Minute Manager and High Output Management. Each gives a system for setting expectations with the people you manage. Remember, your job isn’t to be friends with the people you work with, although that’s nice; your job is to give them the tools to be successful. – Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences
3. Focus On One Thing At A Time
Tackle one thing at a time. The easiest way to experience burnout is by handling too many things at once. Remember that you’re human and should only take on so much. Your HR team and other managers in the company also have a responsibility to handle bigger issues and tackle these problems. As soon as you can, implement systems and strategies in your company to help yourself succeed and make your life easier, such as automation and hiring contractors. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
4. Increase Your Knowledge
I started my company before I graduated college and did almost everything wrong before learning to do it right. There is no substitute for experience, but it’s incredibly important to learn and adapt quickly. By far the best way to do this is to surround yourself with knowledge. A few things that I’ve found most successful in this are: 1) Read voraciously. There is a wealth of knowledge in business books written by really smart people. 2) Build a peer group. Professional organizations will give you communities of people dealing with the same problems as you, and you can learn a lot from them. 3) Be vulnerable. It’s OK to make mistakes, but be honest about them with yourself and your team. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect and allowing for reflection gives you the advantage of hindsight. – Tony Scherba, Yeti
5. Create Standard Operating Procedures
Create your standard operating procedures (SOP) for every repeatable task you need to do as a manager. This will lay out the steps to success and also eliminate guesswork and errors. When you start with an SOP, create metrics for success so you can improve upon your procedures. These metrics add a data component because your success is measurable and you can show this to your superiors and come up with ways to grow as a leader. Another piece to the SOP you’ll want to include is who you manage. Periodically, check on how they are working in terms of HR and performance. Listen and respond, measure and then edit and implement the feedback. These are essentials of the SOP, and having this can help make you an excellent manager. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
6. Praise Individual Team Members
Give your team the stage. Avoid making things all about you. In coaching, stop saying, “During my time…” or “When I did that…” Stop making your success the perfect formula for everyone else’s. Customize solutions based on how you know your people. Listen and get to know everyone without giving credit to yourself. Give them the honor and the credits due to them and highlight your team. A proud person will be humbled, so go and manage that team without grabbing the credit that is due to them. You’ll be more highlighted by staying humble. – Daisy Jing, Banish
7. Communicate Clearly With Your Team
Communication is key. Make sure you communicate to your team exactly what expectations are. Pain lies in the difference between expectations and experience, so the smaller that difference is the better it will be for the leader and team. As a leader, you should be open to new ways of doing things and collaboration, but you should also clearly express to your team what is the desired outcome or goal. Open lines of communication will allow you to better manage potential setbacks or quickly identify issues before they become a problem. – Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
8. Adjust Your Leadership Style To Fit The Situation
One of the best ways to get started on the right foot as a new manager is to adopt a situational leadership approach. Essentially, this model involves adjusting one’s management style to each situation or task as well as to the needs of each team member. Over 50% of the time, leaders use just one leadership style. This means that most of the time, they are using the wrong leadership style to meet the needs of their people. A manager that goes the extra mile, providing personalized instruction and guidance, can be instrumental in an employee’s success and growth. Strive to determine when you should persuade, direct, participate, share or delegate. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker