9 Essential Tips for New Managers

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You did it. You’ve worked hard and have been promoted to manager. Congrats! Now, get to work!

What? No time to rest or celebrate? How about a moment to appreciate the new office? Sorry, business is business.

Becoming a new manager can be both exciting and intimidating. It’s not like you’re inexperienced, but your knowledge of management has likely been academic, abstract or gathered as a team member. And as a new manager, you’re no longer observing, but doing, and being judged on those actions.

So, what can you do to set yourself up for success? Well, take a deep breath for starters. It’s going to be all right. You wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t already proven yourself worthy of the position. You just need a little bit of fine-tuning since you’re new to the job, so check out our amazing tips for new managers.

Tips for New Managers

1. Mentorship

Thankfully, being a manager is not like blazing a trail through uncharted territories. Many people have done it before and have succeeded. How did they do it? What tools did they use to manage projects and teams? To find out, ask someone to be your mentor who has experience and a managerial style you respect.

Finding a mentor can be a critical tip for new managers. A mentor gives you a soundboard to bounce ideas off and offers guidance when you’re at a loss. But feel free to share your knowledge with members of your team too. That is, the fact that you’re a new manager doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t mentor up-and-coming employees. By sponsoring or coaching others, you help them and yourself.

Your job performance will improve as you develop stronger relationships with people in your organization. Feedback from colleagues can offer constructive advice that makes everyone do a better job.

2. Lead Through Example

You might be new to management, but management isn’t new to you. Most of your career has likely been spent working under managers, good, bad and indifferent. You’ve noticed that they set the tone for the office, and now it’s your turn to set the tone and establish a leadership style as a new manager.

What kind of person do you want on your team? Hard-working, dedicated, engaged? Then be those things. Don’t take a passive approach behind a closed door but get out there in the bullpen and be a part of the team.

3. Lean All the Way In

COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg popularized the term “lean in” after writing the book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. It was directed to women in the workforce, but it can easily apply to anyone who wants to excel and advance in their career.

What does lean in mean? Basically, don’t be passive. Literally, lean into conversations. Show you’re listening and be active in what’s going on. Lead; don’t follow.

This applies to women especially, as historically they have been expected to be more subservient, but new managers can learn from her advice, too. As a leader, it’s important to project confidence and be heard, not fade into the woodwork and let others make decisions or, worse, leave a void at the top.

4. Be a Servant Leader

Does the term “servant leader” sound like an oxymoron? Maybe, but a leader who serves their employees is one that creates a happier work environment, which yields a more productive business. This new manager tip is just good for your bottom line.

Servant leadership is sort of a spiritual approach to managing. Servant leaders believe everyone has value and deserves to be treated respectfully. The idea is that your team will achieve more when they are inspired by a purpose greater than themselves. It’s about service to others, rather than service to self.

Listen actively and observe the way your team operates. Act selfishly, and you’ll see that behavior reflected in the workforce. Hold yourself and others accountable. No one is perfect; we all make mistakes. But, we can learn from them and do better next time.

5. Be Part of a Greater Whole

No one can do it all by themselves, and no one should try to manage that way. Being a new manager or an old one won’t affect the result; your tenure will be short and unpleasant unless you trust the people you work with and give them responsibilities to carry the work forward.

Being able to delegate is in fact a cornerstone of leadership. There are duties that must rest solely on your shoulders, but other tasks can be assigned can be assigned elsewhere. This isn’t to lighten your load so you can coast through the day, but rather to use the people you work with effectively.

They were hired for their skills and experience. Use them appropriately, and you’ll find that work gets done faster and better. Plus you’ll get buy-in from the team.

6. You’re Part of the Team, But You’re Still the Boss

It can be uncomfortable to be promoted from a pool of your peers. You know the people you’re now managing, and are likely friends with many of them, but the work relationship has now shifted. This tip for new managers is about showing that you’re still part of the team, but now your role is to manage and direct them.

That doesn’t mean you have to become cold and distant. Certainly, there’s no cause to get mean or cutting. You haven’t changed, but your priorities have. It’s a matter of setting boundaries. It also helps to have a more professional relationship when managing, so you don’t create a perception of bias or favoritism.

Related: How to Be a Good Manager

7. Meet, Meet, Meet

New managers are often put in charge of processes they may not fully understand just yet. Even if you do feel you know what your duties and responsibilities are, there’s never a downside to getting to know the team and even your superiors, so you can be clear on issues, directives and goals.

One of the best ways to do this is through meetings. Not the long, pointless waste-of-time meetings, but agenda-based meetings that can be held for the whole team and on a one-on-one basis. Not only will you get various perspectives that will broaden your understanding of the work environment, but you can address concerns too.

Don’t forget that you’re part of a larger structure. Just as you want to get testimonies from the front line of work from your team, you’ll also want to meet regularly with upper management. You can give them a report of your progress and get a good idea of their expectations. This will keep you and your team aligned with overall business strategies, and help you stay in the good graces of upper management.

8. Bridge the Generation Gap

Whether you’re a new manager that’s old, young or somewhere in-between,  you’ll likely be managing various age groups. This can create unique challenges that they probably didn’t teach you about in business school.

This tip for new managers is about respect and avoiding preconceived ideas. Remember, terms like Boomer and Millennial were developed by marketers and have little bearing on who a person is or their capabilities. If there is tension between generations on your team, much of it likely stems from ignorance. Get to know your team. Treat them as individuals, and encourage your team members to do so as well.

Of course, this advice can apply to more than just dealing with age gaps. You’ll be working with people of various genders, races and religions. Treat them all with tolerance and understand that each person brings unique perspectives, which can complement the team and help achieve business goals.

9. Have Fun!

You worked hard to get where you are. Enjoy yourself! This is where you wanted to be, where you should be, and if you approach the work with a positive attitude, it will brighten every corner of the office.

Work hard, yes, but also acknowledge wins and celebrate success. Celebrations are often great opportunities for team bonding, and a way to keep everyone enthused and motivated.

Congratulations on your promotion! If you want to really make an impact, suggest that your team use a project management software to supersize their productivity. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based tool with features, such as a real-time dashboard, online Gantt charts and more, which helps teams collaborate and managers do their job more effectively. Try it out today with this free 30-day trial.

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