New managers or first time managers are those professionals who have recently transitioned into leadership roles. They are no longer only responsible for the work that they do and the tasks that they accomplish but also for the overall performance, productivity and credibility of their entire team. However, for numerous managers, transitioning into such a role can be very difficult. According to a study, 44% first time managers claimed they were unprepared for the new role. At the same time, 87% reported that they did not receive any training for a new managerial position. The objective of this blog is to help first time managers identify some of the top practices that are likely to set them up for success.
Why new managers need these tips is simply because this is the first time that they are responsible for individuals beyond themselves. Therefore, they need to adopt and hone new competencies to leave a mark. One of the most common pitfalls that first time managers come across in their journey is being over ambitious and changing everything just because they are now in charge. On the other extreme, are those managers who in an attempt to get everyone to like them refrain from taking a strong stand. Invariably, either of these practices do not spell success for new managers and, thus, they need to make a sincere effort to create a legacy for themselves.
Succeeding as a First-Time Manager: Top 5 Tips
It is quite evident that first time managers need to take a few extra steps to spell out success. Here are some tips for new managers to accelerate their professional journey and make an impact.
Change your Mindset towards Team Growth
As a manager you do not have the option to focus on what you do and turn away from what your team members are up to. For most professionals, till they reach a specific position on the leadership ladder, they only have to focus on outperforming themselves. However, as a manager one must change their outlook towards their team and its collective growth. The objective now is not to treat everybody else like competition in a race. Rather, it is important to see everyone as a part of a relay where performance of one contributes to the team performance. Therefore, first time managers must adopt a growth mindset to help their team members develop as professionals.
How to achieve this: Focus on the strengths that everyone brings to the table and make effort to leverage the same. For instance, build a team with complementary rather than similar skills.
Build a Rapport to take Everyone Along
Next in line, it is very important for first time managers to build a rapport with everyone around. While as a part of a team you may or may not get along with everyone. However, as a manager you need to have healthy relationships with everyone in your team, as well as those above you and below you. Here, it is vital that first time managers pay heed to the opinions and perspectives of everyone around. On the one hand, this will help you create an image that they take everybody along. On the other hand, building a rapport, will facilitate collaboration which is crucial to success for any manager.
How to achieve this: One of the easiest ways to achieve this would be to make an effort to get to know your team members and others beyond work. Try to learn about their personal life (with their consent), learn about what they wish to do beyond work, etc.
Motivate, Mentor, Guide and Support Development
For a first time manager it is not only about getting things done but also to ensure that your team grows and develops in the process. Therefore, one of the most important tips for new managers is that they must motivate, mentor, guide and support their team. Motivation and mentoring can take many forms. For instance, helping the team members align their professional goals with the vision of the organisation. The objective is to ensure that each team member is able to reach the pinnacle of success and stretch beyond their comfort zone. As a first time manager, it is your responsibility to create appropriate conditions to promote the personal and professional development of your team members.
How to achieve this: Set up formal mentoring and coaching programs for your team. It can be with internal leaders or external ones. Learn their aspirations and make a conscious effort to give them assignments that can aid in their professional success.
Nurture your Emotional Intelligence & Communication Skills
One of the common misconceptions amongst first time managers is that they have to hone more technical skills. However, if you look closely, a managerial position is more about developing soft skills rather than focusing on technical competencies. Therefore, new managers must focus on developing emotional intelligence and communication skills. Emotional intelligence is likely to help new managers look at things from the perspective of the team members and others and ensure that they become empathetic leaders.
At the same time, it is crucial to develop communication skills especially focused on active listening. This suggests that first time managers must listen to what their team members have to say and ensure that their opinions and perspectives are taken into consideration while making any important decisions. Additionally they must be able to communicate with clarity talking about any rules, responsibilities or goals to ensure that there is no confusion or doubt about the expectations from the team members.
How to achieve this: Invest in tools that offer regular behavioral nudges for development. Emotional intelligence and communication skills cannot be developed over night and, thus, a constant monitoring system can be effective to achieve them.
Empower your Team
Another important tip for first time managers is to ensure that they empower their team. In an attempt to make sure that their team performs exceptionally well and all targets are met, new managers tend to micromanage and get into every detail. This not only chokes their bandwidth preventing them from allocating their time to value intensive activities, it also creates an environment where team members feel that the manager does not trust or has faith in them. As a new manager, you should provide your team with the right resources and tools and guide them to get things done, rather than getting into the details of every task. This will help you create a team which is efficient and responsible enough to take care of the operational work. Empowering your team will leave you enough room to focus on high order tasks and decision making to attain scalability and success.
How to achieve this: Understand what your team needs and give them those resources. For instance, if your team is working remotely, invest in collaboration and communication tools like Slack, video conferencing tools like zoom, etc.
A Collective Effort: Role of the Organization
The onus of setting up first time managers for success does not only lie with the managers themselves. The organization that employs these managers is equally responsible for ensuring that they have the right technical and soft skills as well as managerial competencies for a wide ranging impact.
There are several ways in which organizations enable their new managers to make a difference. Firstly, there are many manager development programs that organizations can explore and enroll their managers in. Secondly, many organisations are now experimenting with manager development tools and platforms holistic training and development using behavioral nudges to create sustainable and long term impact. Such forward-looking organizations often collaborate with platforms like SuperBeings to invest in the development of their managers. These platforms have programs which offer continuous behavioral nudges to facilitate manager development. Thirdly it is very important organizations the pitfalls which prevent their manager development programs from succeeding and take into confidence experts who are able to guide the way.
Additionally, organizations must make mentoring and coaching a part of development programs for any new managers. On the one hand, the program will help the first time managers seamlessly transition into their new roles without any hiccups. This suggests that not only will they be able to perform their new responsibilities properly but also lead a team that respects them, believes in them and looks up to them. On the other hand, this will also create a culture of mentoring and coaching where those who have been mentored will further mentor their peers and subordinates, creating a ripple effect.
Organizations that help their first time managers develop the right competencies and skills have an edge over others when it comes to succession planning. They already have a process in place when a new leader is instated. This seamlessly allows transition into leadership roles without any road block. The bottom line is that success for first time managers is the responsibility of both the managers as well as their organizations working together towards excellence.