Becoming a manager for the first time is full of challenges. Like any other management role, the first-time manager’s position contains a leadership aspect. So, as a first-time manager, you’re expected to have leadership skills. These are skills that will allow you to lead, communicate, motivate, inspire and manage all the workload.
Once you become a manager, a layer is created between yourself and actual work tasks. So the actual work tasks remain the responsibility of your former co-workers.
The problem is, not all your former co-workers will be delighted to be your subordinates.
But don’t panic and start taking what may appear to you as the safest option – that is to get involved in everything the team does. Don’t be pushed into micromanaging because it’s very damaging.
Related: How To Say Goodbye To Bad Management
I have seen a few first-time managers choosing to go back to their former roles. Because their former co-workers made their new managerial life unbearable. That is a defeatist attitude. From experience, many managers who are successful today have gone through similar challenges.
You too can become a successful new manager using those few tips below:
1. Manage Your Fear
Being a manager can be intimidating. You can feel the fear of managing the same people you know well.
This fear of failure is one of the biggest things that causes a first time manager to self-sabotage. But you need to understand that fear is only in the mind. And confidence builds by stepping through fear. So, build your confidence.
You don’t need to ask your subordinates for permission or acceptance to be their manager. All you have to do is admit it. And give yourself permission to be a good leader.
2. Get Everybody Behind You
If your former co-workers aren’t falling into line to support you, they are undermining your work and progress.
Learn how to deal with stubborn individuals. Get them to step out of the shadow sooner than later. Start by having a one-on-one conversation. And make sure you do it right.
Sometimes when the work pressure builds, we tend to have less patience for listening to what the people around us say. We also end up not tolerating the perceptions others may hold against us.
So, choose a moment when the stress of the job isn’t too high. Take it from there. Say what you think, but in a measured way. Keep it real and factual. First, praise their work.
Stress the importance of “teamwork and team effort” (in fact demanding teamwork and team effort is one of the most effective ways to tell stubborn people to shut up and get back into line).
Then get them to say all their fears, suspicions, and concerns. Listen and make sure you write everything down. Avoid sounding like control freaks who get angry if they think someone isn’t in agreement with them.
3. Do what is right
You’re not going to please every member of your team. And you have to accept that. Not everyone will agree with every decision you make. Not everyone will accept every turn you make nor every word you use.
Accept that some people are going to grumble regardless. And that is normal. Take it as part and parcel of a manager’s job. Do what is in the best interest in the business and the whole team, not individuals.
Related: Tips For Managers Starting New Jobs
4. Don’t Be Naive
People will exploit your naivety to get you to do what you don’t have to do. Remember that, each time you agree to something you don’t have to do means you’re saying no to something you’re supposed to do.
If you don’t want to do certain things, create a red list. Write down all the things you would consider as a no-no. In other words, things which you’re not prepared to do.
Make sure the list is accessible to you at any time. As long as you don’t do anything on that list, you’re doing fine.
5. Avoid Over-Ambitious Goals
Don’t set impossible goals and then crucify yourself up when you fail to reach them. It’s good to stretch yourself. But you don’t need moonshots goals to feel ambitious.
Moonshots goals are not smart goals and are very hard to achieve.
The whole point why you’re setting goals is to drive your daily actions and the decisions of the whole team. Not to crucify your morale and that of the team. So the goals have to be good and attainable.
6. Manage Your Setbacks
As a first-time manager, you’re going to make mistakes and face a few setbacks. Thus, you’ll fall prey to reactive thinking and a sense of guilt. Besides, you’ll start to act unreasonably, pointing fingers or trying to make your staff scapegoats.
But resorting to blame games will only provoke negative reactions in those you lead. So, avoid it. And don’t respond to setbacks and the mistakes you’ve made with self-criticism and guilt. Accept that mistakes and setbacks are going to happen.
Especially when your job requires to make tough choices all the time. So, by taking this attitude you’re going to learn from your mistakes, and also make the situation better and acceptable.
7. Seek for Help
You are going through a leadership transition and accept that you need help. Many senior managers have struggled, especially when it comes to managing people. And others are still having challenges motivating and developing their staff.
You may not be fortunate enough to have a boss who is a good coach. But there are many great people out there who can coach. Find someone who you can trust and build from there.
That person can help you learn how to work out your own solutions without much direction. After a while, you will realize that you’re doing fine by yourself.
So don’t feel shy, we all need help one way or the other.
What about you? Have you got any advice for the first-time new manager?