We get it—being a first time manager can feel like a daunting task 😳. Many of us are thrust into management positions without any formal training or leadership. And it’s crazy sometimes… you have so many new responsibilities, from decision making to employee motivation to monitoring performance goals, all while often times still holding on to your previous day to day responsibilities.
How can you do it all to the best of your ability while learning fast and minimizing mistakes? We’ve compiled these 15 tips for new managers to help you step into and carry out your new leadership role with confidence 🙌!
Becoming a New Manager: What You Need to Do Beforehand
If you feel like you're on the cusp of being promoted to a management position or have a long-term goal to get there, there are things you could be doing to prepare for your future role.
Start by taking the time to observe current managers in your organization. You could even reach out to them and ask to shadow one of their meetings or see if they have time to grab a coffee and chat about what their role entails ☕. If they make it look easy, trust me, it isn’t—and you need to learn from them.
Good management can sometimes blend in the background and look effortless (but bad management always looks obvious). Learning from those around you is your best way to get started in your educational journey of being a manager. You could also take educational courses or seminars on business management (there are lots of free ones online 💻), attend local conferences, or join networking groups to learn from other professionals in your area.
Additionally, you could read up on management topics and techniques through books, blogs, and more 📖. We certainly have done this and still do to this day. Fortunately, countless successful leaders have taken the time to put their knowledge and experience out there to help others, so why not learn from the best! It’s crucial to your success in your future management role to begin preparing for it now—after all, if you're offered a promotion and you’re not prepared, you’ll feel like kicking yourself.
Tips for New Managers
So let’s dive into our tips on how to be a good manager! Here we go:
- Recognize you’re in a new role. As a first time manager, accept the fact that you’re in a new role and will often be doing things you’ve never done before. It’s totally okay to have questions, need extra guidance or support as you’re getting comfortable in your new role, and make some mistakes along the way—you’ll just keep learning and getting better! Be humble and know you’re new!
- Learn about different leadership styles. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to being a good manager. There are lots of different leadership styles out there, so take the time to learn about them and try different things out. Individual team members may respond better to a certain style of leadership or coaching, so if you have a solid foundation of various leadership styles, you can then tailor your approach to best fit their needs.
- Get to really know your team members. Spend time with each of your team members and get to know their daily job tasks, career goals, strengths, and weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and workplace preferences. But don't just stop there—get to know things like the names of their children, what pets they have, where they live, etc. Knowing some small details that are important to them and bringing them up in conversation can help you build a more personal relationship that leads to a solid foundation of trust.
- Be the boss, not a friend. Although you should get to know your team on a personal level, it’s important to realize that you’re still their superior. If you act like a friend and not an unbiased boss, it can cause feelings of bias or favoritism amongst other team members. This can cause big problems for team morale. So, while it’s natural to develop friendships with people you’re working with and seeing every day, be sure to maintain professional interactions while in the workplace.
- Focus on employee motivation. Each individual team member will be motivated by different things. For example, some appreciate recognition from their manager while others are incentivized by perks like monetary bonuses or an extra day off for high performance. One of the most important new manager skills is the ability to uncover those motivators for each employee so you can help everyone on your team reach their greatest potential!
- Lead by example. A major tip for new managers is to always lead your team members by example. Avoid the “do as I say, not as I do” mindset—this will lead to distrust and resentment amongst your team. Ensure you are working just as hard, if not harder, than everyone else. This will generate a great deal of respect from your employees and inspire them to do their best. But remember, this doesn’t mean just do their jobs for them—it means being the type of person you want them to be!
- Find a mentor. Find another successful manager in your organization to observe and learn from. Having a go-to person for questions, advice, and feedback can help ease the transition into your new role and make you feel more comfortable as a first time manager. Don’t be stubborn, being a manager is harder than it looks. Pick someone to learn from and ask them to be a mentor.
- Always keep learning. Once you land a management position, you shouldn’t just stop developing new skills and learning new things. There are always ways to improve and grow, so you should always strive to become a better leader, improve your skill set, and take the time to grow both personally and professionally. As a first time manager, you’ll definitely have a lot to learn!
- Be transparent. One of the most important management tips is to always be open and honest with your team members. This transparency will go a long way in building trust. If your employees feel like you aren’t trustworthy, they won’t feel comfortable coming to you with questions, comments, or concerns, which can negatively affect team performance and morale.
- Hold yourself accountable. There’s no point in being open if you aren’t going to actually follow through on what you said. So, be sure to never make promises you can’t keep, and do what you say you’re going to do. This is another way to build trust with your direct reports, and sets an example that your team members should hold themselves accountable, too.
- Be accessible and approachable. Effective managers need to be accessible to their team members. After all, if your direct reports can never get a hold of you, or they feel that coming to you with a problem is intimidating, you’ll never be able to identify problems and create solutions for them!
- Become an active listener. One of the most vital tips for new managers on this list is to become an active listener, which means paying very close attention to your team members during a meeting or whenever they approach you for a conversation. Maintain eye contact, nod your head, and watch for non-verbal cues and body language. Never interrupt them and always repeat the key points they’ve made back to them to confirm you not only heard, but actually understand what they said.
- Schedule and stick with regular 1:1 meetings. You need to connect with your team members privately through 1:1 meetings to give and get feedback and uncover problems. This is so important because often times, employees may not feel comfortable voicing concerns in a group setting. You also need all the members of your team to interact with each other regularly. This way, you can ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what their coworkers are working on. This can also help with team bonding, which leads to higher morale, engagement, and employee motivation.
- Ask for feedback. As a first time manager, you’re not going to be perfect—even experienced managers are far from perfect. So, it’s important that you regularly ask your team members for feedback, whether in group or 1:1 meetings or through anonymous surveys. When you know what your team members like and what they don’t and where they think improvements can be made, you can proactively make the necessary changes.
- Stay organized. Staying organized will make you feel all over the place as a first time manager, and keeping tasks on track will go a long way in boosting team productivity. There are lots of tools that managers can use to keep track of workload, timelines, projects, performance goals, and more. Streamlining these processes will help you keep all the many moving parts of being a manager on track!
First Time Managers Can Succeed with Strety!
One of the tips for new managers we mentioned earlier was leveraging a digital tool to keep track of workload, timelines, projects, performance goals, and more.
One of these tools is Strety—a platform that brings together all the features you need to be a better manager so you can run high performing teams 😍! With Strety, you’ll be able to:
- Conduct more effective team and 1:1 meetings
- Set and track employee and company goals
- Send and store team announcements for improved communication and bonding amongst team members
- Ask recurring questions and set automated reminders for more streamlined project management
- And much more!
If you’re a new team leader, you need access to the tools and data insights that will make it possible to improve your management skills and get the most out of your team members. Strety makes this possible! So, are you ready to get started? Contact us today 📞!