First time and/or new managers have a lot of weight on their shoulders. Just coming to terms with the realities of leadership, a new manager is still expected to drive the performance of their team and push the limits of their own skills and competencies.
While there is no definitive learning curve for great leadership and management, the transitional period from regular staff level employee to manager is inherently stressful. Even so, many new managers start their management tenure with radical notions and rash decision making.
Here are the top five mistakes a new manager can easily make:
- Taking too much control: Don’t let your new position go to your head. As any good manager knows, It’s not all about you – it’s about the results of the team. Don’t leverage your management authority to make the workplace an environment of fear and animosity for your employees.
- Not appreciating your team: Understanding the value of your team is the key to unlocking any successful project or goal. Realize that your subordinates are not carbon copies of yourself and that each individual has different strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table. They are motivated and are driven to perform for different reasons.
- Moving too fast: Many a new manager wants to start their career with a bang and come in to the role expecting to change the world. Slow down and take baby steps – radical change is seldom accepted wholeheartedly. Most management gurus suggest a three month “grace period,” where you evaluate the team and understand your goals.
- Not taking any advice: New managers are expected to make tough decisions even though they don’t possess the years of experience and insight a seasoned decision maker would have. For any new manager, now is the time to listen and learn. Seek advice from colleagues and mentors while working hard to bridge communication gaps with team members. Building a rapport with your team builds trust.
- Not taking enough control: The antithesis to Mistake #1, not taking enough control is just as deadly to any new manager. Your authority is paramount or else the whole system falls apart. As a leader, you can be cordial and respectful with your teammates, but you can’t be their best friend. This is the sacrifice that any good manager must realize, and accept.
The road to great management may in fact be a lifelong journey, not a skill easily acquired in a number of months on the job. Many new supervisors take it upon themselves to overcompensate in certain areas – terrified that someone might perceive their freshness as a weakness. They make poor choices that impact organizational effectiveness and quickly find themselves burnt out from the stress.
In fact, many employees struggle to get into management roles, but once they get there, they realize it isn’t for them. Managers must possess a very particular drive and personality in order to be effective. If it’s not for you, don’t be ashamed to realize this. But if you are a new manager, be sure to give yourself some time on the job. More so than perhaps any individual profession, managing people presents the most complex challenge, but also presents the greatest rewards.