New Manager? – Avoid the Pitfalls

If you’re just about to move into a management position for the first time, you might be wondering what’s in store for you.

You will be pleased to have been promoted and will be keen to show your mettle. But there are some potential  banana skins that you would be wise to avoid , especially in the early days, as you find your feet.

Here are a few tips which you may want to take on board:

  1. Make sure you understand what is expected of you. You’re a manager with specific responsibilities. Management is about getting results through others. You’re not a leader so it is unlikely that your role will include things like articulating the corporate vision.
  2. Don’t think that you’ve made it just yet. A bit like someone who has just passed their driving test, you will now learn how to do it i.e. to manage. Make sure you make regular assessments and analyses of your knowledge and skills, your strengths and weaknesses. Take responsibility for your ongoing development and discuss with your own boss ways and means of improving.
  3. Make time for your team or direct reports. Have an open door policy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Engender trust and build relationships. No hidden agendas, no ambiguity. Be respectful to others and they will respect you. Be dependable, honest and consistent in your dealings.
  4. Maintain a positive attitude. Your team will not want to see you downcast. Have an optimistic but realistic outlook
  5. Avoid micro management where possible. This will be guaranteed to rub people up the wrong way, especially if you are now managing people who were once at your level. But also avoid a hands off policy. Try and strike the right balance
  6. In addition to understanding your role, make sure your reports understand theirs. Ensure that goals and targets are clearly written down and understood and behavioural rules are in place. Your reports must understand what the rules are and how far they can go with you. Set clear boundaries.
  7. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Give feedback, give praise for a job well done, watch the tone of your communications and, above all, listen. When I say listen, I mean listen actively and to understand, not just to reply. Listening is a key skill you will do well to master because it will convey your respect, build trust and relationships.
  8. Understand what motivates. Different people will be motivated by different things. Don’t assume everyone is motivated by money. Other motivational factors are recognition, a sense of achievement, job satisfaction. You will find out what motivates people by asking them and observing. Not difficult.
  9. Give people responsibility where appropriate. They will respond well to it
  10. Remember – you can’t do their job for them. Coach them, guide them and help them to learn but don’t do it for them.

Gareth Evans provides coaching, training and development in all Critical business skills areas