Congratulations, you’ve just been promoted to team manager.
Transitioning from an individual contributor or rank and file employee to a new manager allows you to recommend changes in your organization. This new role will also enable you to set a vision for your team and empower others to exercise their strengths.
Although this higher role may be rewarding and exciting, it can be overwhelming. After all, there’s a lot to accomplish. Also, you’ll be handling people and making sure that they get the job done right.
Where do you even begin? Here are some suggestions to help you avoid the common mistakes many first-time managers face:
1. Get Smart
First things first: you need to learn everything you can about the manager role. This is instrumental to your success in this position. Seek out the management classes, resources, and tools that your company offers. If your company is offering leadership and group facilitation training programs, don’t hesitate to enroll.
Some organizations offer formal supervisor training-and almost all companies have HR policies and manuals. Read, digest, and keep these documents on your bookshelf.
Apart from increasing your knowledge, do some digging and find out more about the people you will be managing. If possible, review the past performance reviews, resumes, and personnel files of your direct reports.
2. Look for a Mentor
Sometimes, managers face a situation or a problem that isn’t outlined in the manual. What do you think about the overachiever in your team who you’d love to promote but couldn’t do due to budget cuts? How do you manage team members who are not hitting their goals?
When you face these challenging issues, don’t fret. Someone else has probably faced these situations. One of the most important things you need to do is to find a mentor. This person has to be someone with whom you can confidentially and comfortably discuss problems as they arise.
If this mentor happens to be your boss, then that’s great. If not, don’t give up. Find someone else in the organization who can serve as a mentor.
3. Learn How to Delegate Tasks
You’re no longer a regular employee who’s checking tasks off a to-do list. You’re a coach and a leader who needs to help other people succeed. This role requires delegating responsibilities.
Don’t fall into the habit of “I’ll get that done myself,” especially when faced with a task that you’ve done multiple times. You need to fight the urge to tackle tasks on your own. You need to teach your direct reports to solve a particular problem effectively.
When you delegate, you show your employees that you value their input and trust them to get the job done. As a manager, you need to give employees professional development opportunities and the chance to acquire new skills on the job. Remember that when your team fails or stumbles, so do you.
4. Build Trust with Your Team
When direct reports trust their managers, they exert extra effort at work and are more satisfied in their roles. You, therefore, need to prioritize building trust.
Start by arranging one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. During these consultations, find out what their goals are and provide career development tips. If they are interested in learning a particular skill, check if there’s a training program or a project you can recommend. When you invest in their future, they will likely feel more invested in the organization.
Transparency also helps boost trust. When you’re making a team decision, speak openly about the results and implications of those decisions (whether negative or positive) with your direct reports. Share vital information, along with what you are working on, and encourage other team members to do the same.
5. Ask for Feedback
Even if you’re at the top, you still need to make an effort to evaluate your weaknesses and strengths to help yourself grow over time.
Don’t hesitate to ask for constructive feedback from your direct reports. By doing this, you can identify areas for improvement. This will also help you set goals for yourself and show your workers that you appreciate and value their input.
6. Be a Role Model
The days of showing up late to meetings and complaining about your boss over cocktails are long gone. As a manager, you’re expected to be a role model by your direct reports and other people in the organization.
This means that you need to always be on your A game. This entails keeping your opinions about other people to yourself, sticking to your word, meeting task deadlines, and giving everything you’ve got to represent your team and organization.
Being a manager won’t be easy. When you’re just starting, follow these tips, do your research, focus on doing your best, and you will be off to a fantastic start.
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