12 Tips for New Managers

Most high performers want to be promoted and the next phase in their career is usually managing people. It’s normally a big step for people because they have no or little previous experience and for the most part what they know they have learned from previous managers. Some of what they have learned is worthwhile but if one is  moving into a people management position, you likely will need to enhance your current skills. How well you’ve done your job to this point of being promoted may have nothing to do with how effective you will be as a manager.

I recently was contacted by a man in his thirties who is moving into a leadership role. He asked me what he needs to do initially to be successful and then he asked what he needed to do to sharpen his management skills moving forward. I suggested these 12 tips for a new manager and then referred him to many of my previous articles about leadership and management. Keep in mind if you are a new manager make sure you understand what your new boss’ expectations are of you and how your performance is going to be measured.

  1. Learn as much as you can about your new employees personally. Take notes so you can remember names of significant others, kids, parents and what they like to do outside of work.

  2. Ask and observe what motivates them.

  3. Ask what they feel are their strengths.

  4. Evaluate whether their strengths are a good match with the needs of their position.

  5. Ask what they like most about their job and what they like least. Remember people gravitate to what they like doing.

  6. Review job descriptions with each person and rewrite it with them if necessary.

    1. Make sure  there are clear expectations

    2. Make sure the employee knows how their performance is going to be measured

    3. Make sure the duties and responsibilities are still correct and match with the outcomes desired

  7. Set up regular meeting times and make the employee responsible for the agenda.

  8. Just in case they may forget something that is important to you, also put your own agenda together.

  9. Look for opportunities to push responsibility and authority down to them and seek t stretch assignments you can assign whenever possible.

  10. Take notes at each meeting with particular interest in holding people accountable for milestones or project completions to be on time and meet expectations.

  11. Always be available to help and provide guidance, but beware of reverse delegation or getting assignments back.

  12. Whenever possible bring your group together to solve problems and facilitate the conversation. Even if you know the answers, it’s worth the time to have group input and ownership.

You will find as a new manager, there are lots of things to think about. If I had to sum it up, maybe the most important recommendation is to listen and ask focused questions, which is invaluable to gain knowledge about the culture and each person on your team. You won’t have all the answers, so seek advice from people you respect who may have extensive management experience to share.   Talking to a manager you respect outside your organization gives you a sounding board with whom you can share challenges and concerns or seek advice on how to handle different situations.

Count on the fact you will make some mistakes along the way. That’s okay. Recognize where you’ve gone wrong and learn from your mistakes. Be humble and let others around you know you acknowledge your own errs. If in doubt over communicate and be as transparent as possible.