7 tips to succeed as newbie manager
Being a first-time manager while navigating the challenges of the postpandemic world can be a little daunting. As a management newbie, you are expected to hit the ground running. But that doesn’t mean you can no longer seek out sound advice from your fellow managers.
As a boss, you now have greater responsibility over your subordinates. But at the same time, you can give them more room to grow their skills and help them climb up the ladder of success just like you did. But in order to do that, you have to arm yourself with a new set of skills to adapt to a workplace that has evolved overnight.
With the advent of hybrid setup as well as the growing call for greater inclusivity and diversity at work, managers must beef up their war chest to establish a more meaningful connection for each employee. According to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), many office-based managers are now confronted with the task of managing people through video or email. Some are managing new hires they’ve never met.
“Without personal contact or casual conversations, it’s harder for managers to build trust. Managers must learn a range of complex skills, including how to motivate, how to give feedback, how to have difficult conversations and how to set compensation. They also need strong people skills because they set the tone for the day for each employee,” says the WEF report entitled, “How to be a first-time manager.”
The report says that the main culprit behind the so-called The Great Resignation was poor management, alongside the gradual breakdown of communication. It made people flee jobs after experiencing disillusionment and burnout. In order to retain and attract top talent, the report says managers must make sure employees are well cared for, have work that is meaningful and they must feel seen and valued.
Dominic Fitch, head of creative change at UK-based experiential learning company Impact International, says that first-time managers should be open to the advice and guidance other people are willing to give as it will only help increase the chances of success and, in turn, may help them really enjoy their new role.
Fitch lists down seven tips for new managers to become better leaders so that their troops can rally behind them and stay for the long haul (https://www.impactinternational.com/):
1. Listen to your staff
Have you ever heard the saying, “employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers?” Your first duty as a manager should be getting to know your employees and putting their needs first. Even if you’re already familiar with your team and have perhaps known them for years, becoming their manager can significantly change your relationship. Keep this firmly in mind as you navigate your new responsibilities as a manager; a business is nothing without its employees!
2. Never stop learning
As a manager, you’re bound to have a lot of knowledge, but that doesn’t mean you know everything. You should understand that you’ll never stop learning—about your business, industry, competitors—and therefore, you should always be open to absorbing new information.
In a similar way, you should encourage your employees to push themselves and expand their skill set by getting involved in different training courses and seminars. Not only should this increase your chances of being a great new manager; it will also aid team development.
3. Learn how to prioritize
In this new, important position, you may feel obligated to try and tackle everything at once to make the best impression on your superiors and employees. Here’s some helpful advice: Don’t bother! Take a step back, take a deep breath and look at your tasks and responsibilities with the aim of prioritizing. You are not a superhero, and nobody expects you to be.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between a task that’s “urgent” and a task that’s “important.” Start by listing your tasks in order of importance and address them one by one, delegating duties across your team where necessary.
4. Adopt different approaches for different people
The type of manager you should be to your employees is not a “one-size fits all” process and a good, successful manager recognizes that different people need different approaches. While your beliefs, values and overall managerial style shouldn’t change from person to person (that would be unfair), you should be alert to factors such as language barriers and age groups.
For example, if a staff member doesn’t speak the best English, you should keep your vocabulary simple and speak clearly and slowly. In a similar way, an employee who’s older than you might not respond well to being “told” what to do as opposed to “asked,” so it would be courteous (and effective) here to adjust the way you assign responsibilities.
5. Lead by example
Nobody likes a hypocrite, especially when that hypocrite in question is supposed to be managing a workforce. To keep employee morale, productivity and loyalty at a high level, you should be everything you expect your staff to be. How can you discipline a team member for failing to keep a promise when you have five outstanding pledges to action?
Lead by example and watch how your new team flourishes under your command. By demonstrating your own devotion, reliability and hard work, you’ll build trust with your staff, which should motivate them to be the best version of themselves, too.
6. Build (genuine) relationships
Not only does building relationships with your staff, clients, and stakeholders drive better results for the business; it also creates a more enjoyable working environment for everyone involved. In order to strengthen your relationships with those around you, you need to be genuine. Make sure you’re really listening instead of just hearing and focus on truly understanding as opposed to just responding.
Arranging regular one-to-one interactions is just as important as team-building exercises and could help you achieve stronger relationships with each individual at a faster rate.
7. Set realistic goals with clear plans
As a new manager, you probably have all these exciting ideas to improve the business and increase employee satisfaction, but how do you intend to bring these ideas to fruition? To be successful in your new role, you need to have a set of [realistic] goals with a clear plan on how to reach each one. Doing this will ensure that you’re constantly on track with meeting your objectives.
Don’t be afraid to consult others before launching into a new process. Your decisions as a manager impact the wider team, not just yourself. Plus, getting opinions and assistance from your employees should fill them with a sense of importance and help them feel valued, which in turn could help strengthen your relationship with them.
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