New managers always have a lot of tasks on their plates - and not that many ideas on how to make things work. We decided to ask some experts about their insights on how new managers can tackle new challenges and tasks they need to face every day.
Fasten your seatbelt: a lot of great pieces of advice is coming your way.
My first tip for new managers would be to listen and observe, before jumping into fixing mode. Most solutions to any existing issues will present itself if you take a step back and pay attention. As an added bonus, a lot of problems resolve itself when employees feel they're being heard, so listening is a great start.
My second and very important tip is to set boundaries between work and family/personal time. Sometimes being new makes it feel that you should show visibility ALL the time so your bosses know that you're available 24/7 but this isn't right. Doing this on a daily basis for a long time will lead to strained close relationships and stress on trying to balance both areas. That's why it's best to take advantage of each working hour and do each task as best you can, and do the same on your free time! This WFH age has created the need for a lot of tools to help in managing tasks and time better.
Brandi Hawkins from Coupon Chief
First, know about what the organization stands for; its history, vision, and mission. And then you should start acknowledging the people who report to you. The goal is to conduct a SWOT analysis of your team members and leverage their strength to optimize processes.
Now, it is not easy to optimize instantly but begins with allocating the necessary resources to team members based on their SWOT. It is ideal to have a cohesive reporting mechanism to gauge efforts to output as this comes handy in evaluating their work.
Lastly, do not forget to set your KPIs right with your seniors, and based on that, you’ll need to come up with the KPIs of your team members. While you do everything right, do not forget to stay compassionate during tough times.
Be attentive, listen to your team members, and be an empath. Breeding values in the team that can add a sense of purpose to their being in the organization will go a long way. That’s the legacy you’ll create.
Dhaval Sarvaiya, Intelivita
Enroll your team in the company’s long-term vision
Attrition can be one of the greatest challenges for managing a growing team. However, time and experience are both assets that should not be underestimated. Empower your team members with the vision you have for the next 5 or 10 years. This gives them the opportunity to imagine what role they will fulfill down the line.
Keep in mind that people don’t quit jobs, they quit on managers. Therefore, to keep your team members motivated, articulate the future state and how you’ll collectively achieve milestones. Then, demonstrate your management skills by executing on small wins consistently. Managers need to be perform like marathon runners and showcase the ability to help each team overcome challenges and grow over extended periods of time.
Charlie Patel, CEO Instagram Marketing Agency https://www.ampfluence.com
Make sure you catch up
New managers need to catch up fast both on who's who and who does what. One way or the other, you figure out who does what, but few realize what a beneficial investment of time it is to request and go through the pile of resumes of each member of the team and then carry a fresh interview to both present yourself in a personal matter, and at the same time, evaluate the leap, or gap in progress between the current, and employment start date per individual. Do you want to take things a step further? If you're the kind of person I am, you do. Look into LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. That's too much? Not for me. Business is a war and getting to know your forces will make or break your march to success. Take notes. Always. Carrying a person-to-person interview-like talk helps the newly assigned manager to catch up, sync, and sow a sense of confidence and respect in the company, department, or team.
Dimitar Karamarinov, Enhance Resume & CV
Rapport for the win
It's crucial that new managers build rapport with their team and colleagues as quickly as they can without pushing it. Rapport is at the heart of work relationships, and to be an effective manager, one must manage relationships well. To build rapport:
- Explore what you have in common with your team
- Build trust by working hard from day one
- Go above and beyond to show appreciation
- Affirm often, but also offer helpful critique when necessary
- Learn what makes your team tick and tap into it
When rapport is established, communication is easier, motivation goes farther, and the team works better together. When all of this is working, your organization (and your career) benefits."
Brooks Manley at Creative Primer
Don’t be scared of delegating
When you first move into a managerial position, my best advice is to delegate efficiently, confidently, and place faith in your team. The worst managers hover, pester you, and demand work asap. The best managers sit down and craft a well-thought-out plan around what tasks need to be completed, when, why, and how the process should work. They then delegate these tasks to the proper person or internal team, allowing them to do what they do best. Rather than hovering, place faith in your team and inspire confidence.
Jeremy Moser, Co-Founder of uSERP
Set your week goals
Not too many, 2-3 will be enough. From now on your job will consist of so many tasks, you may feel overwhelmed at first. The amount of your responsibilities probably won’t ever get smaller with time, but at least you’ll be able to manage your time more effectively. Your week will always be jam-packed with a wide spectrum of tasks – so just pick 2-3 ones with the highest priority for the coming week and deal with them at first. That will guarantee you some sense of order.
Karolina Matyska, Content Marketing Manager Senuto
Get a grip!
Try to get a grip on who you’re working with. Having a good relationship with your team is quite important. You have to have an individual approach to each employee, it will make them more comfortable working for you and help you develop a personal connection. It will also make it easier for them to trust you. Conduct some team building activities, as those are a good way to get to know your workers. Ask them about their personal life - their hobbies, families, lifestyle. Be genuine about it. But don’t let it go in the direction of building friendships in your workplace. Keep those out of the office. Be professional when at work. Such relationships could create feelings of injustice in your team, and that will have an impact on your employees’ morale. Remember - you’re the boss, not a friend.
Luciano Olivera, MD at Juris Office
Grow your emotional intelligence
Management is all about stellar communication. You need to engage with your team at every business process to improve their skills and overall performance. As a manager, you need to relate to people on a personal level. And that's where your emotional intelligence will come in handy.
Emotional intelligence (EI) helps people communicate and resolve conflicts. It determines how teams work together efficiently and how they stay motivated to do better. According to psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman, there's a direct link between entrepreneurs' emotional intelligence and their business success. When actively working on EI's top five components (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills), you'll be more than a manager for your team. You'll be a leader who motivates them to work on something more significant than money-making.
Lesley Vos, Content Writer and Strategist at Bid4Papers
Learn to rely on your team
People promoted from a team member to team manager face one of the biggest career challenges out there: managing people who used to be their peers. If that happens to you, know that the interpersonal dynamics will now change drastically together with your perspective on different matters. Remember where you’ve come from. Don’t be the manager you’d hate to have. Own your limitations and mistakes. Especially in the beginning, the transition from a colleague to manager will be difficult and it may even result in conflicts with your former peers. However, in healthy teams, support works both ways: top to bottom and bottom down. Learn to rely on your team as much as they now rely on your management skills. Even though the dynamic changed and now you’re the one calling the shots, you’re still in this together. Work out the new patterns as a team. Communicate and improve as you go. This way, you’ll make the new situation easier not only on them, but also on you.
Agnieszka Kasperek, CMO Taskeo
Learn, unlearn & relearn
Each one has a unique way of managing people. Neither of them is better than the other. But till one discovers the kind of manager they are, these markers may lead the way.
Learn. Unlearn. Relearn - If you are a first time manager, chances are you were an outstanding individual contributor. But being a manager is not an elevated version of being an excellent individual contributor. Delegate responsibilities, don’t roll up your sleeves each time there is a challenge ahead. This way you create opportunities for your teammates to learn new things and grow professionally.
Always share the big picture - Want your team to be motivated? Always start the project with a 30,000 ft view - why they are working on a project, the core requirements, and most importantly, the impact on the business. This ensures that each one understands how they are contributing to the success of the business and bringing in revenue. This works way better than all sorts of motivational talks.
One style doesn’t fit all - You’d be lucky to find similar people in the team but typically, the style of working, the motivation to push, and the extent of management required is different for each one. As a first-time manager, one needs to understand what works for each team member and adapt accordingly.
Hire people smarter than you - Your performance is a reflection of your team’s achievements. “Will over skill” is the mantra to hiring smart people! Your interviews should be around problem-solving in your field and not skill assessment.
Monika Adarsh, Product Marketing Manager, Beaconstac
Think long term
From my experience, managing people is a difficult job that has a lot to do with the psychology and relationships.
Having worked as an employee in a company, I've been around multiple managers and I can clearly see what works and what doesn't.
First of all, you need to think long term. That means that it's important to build trust with people and think about relationships. You have to set your expectations straight, be direct and let the person you're managing know what you expect from them and what they can't do.
Secondly, you have to hold people accountable and let them know about it upfront. Any serious person appreciates when the rules of engagement are clear in the beginning and the expectations are set straight. It's much easier to then accept responsibility for that person if they know that they didn't meet your expectations that were laid out.
Andriy Haydash, CEO Progmatiq
Have an open door policy
Highly effective managers are accessible and sociable. They aren’t aloof persons who spend most of their time locked up in their cozy offices and only come out to manage dicey situations. Good managers have an open door policy. Their subordinates are free to open up to them and express their feelings unreservedly. Topnotch managers are friendly but firm, able to crack a joke or the whip at the right moment.
Qhubekani Nyathi, SEO Content Strategist at Wholesome Commerce
Constructive feedback as a key
It’s crucial for a new manager to understand that their success is being measured based on the success of their team. In order to ensure that your team keeps improving you must frequently give them constructive feedback.
1. Give constructive feedback (optimistically)
Set frequent performance evaluations for your team. Each team member should have their performance regularly reviewed and you should summarise points of improvement for each of them. This is a type of constructive feedback that focuses on their skills, approach to tasks, problem solving skills and anything related to their role.
Prepare your feedback with as much detail as possible and present it to them. When presenting your feedback make sure that your energy is always positive and your tone of voice optimistic. This is very important to keep your employee’s morale high and make sure that the feedback is taken as an opportunity for improvement rather than a critique for underperforming. To ensure that your constructive feedback is received positively without holding grudges, begin by highlighting the positives that they have achieved.
A great way to present constructive feedback so that it is easily accepted by employees is to balance the conversation with one praise and one point of improvement simultaneously. This will prevent the employee from getting the impression that you are only giving critiques.
2. Focus on making your team successful
A success of a manager can be seen through the success of his team. Big corporations tend to give awards for the best team of the year. This is a way they show recognition for the hard work and dedication of the team as well as an incentive to motivate other teams to bring out the best in them.
Therefore as a manager first and foremost you should ensure that your team works well together. Invest a lot in your communication skills and help your team members become proficient in written communication as well as efficient during conference calls. Open, free and easy centralized communication is crucial to ensure an effective collaboration among your people. Oversee their tasks and their collaboration from a birds eye view. Don’t micromanage their tasks, instead offer advice and suggestions should you notice space for improvement.
3. Build trust through active listening
Having proficient listening skills is golden. Practice your listening skills and learn how to do it extremely well. By being a good listener you can easily understand what the other side is asking for or a point they are trying to portray. This is an indispensable skill which will serve you in everything throughout your life and career. By actively listening to people, you can easily build connections, develop trust, identify and solve problems and very important for you to avoid missing critical information. Through active listening you can focus on the speaker completely, thus understand their message and respond thoughtfully.
Overall listening is an invaluable skill that each manager must strive to perfect if they want to advance further in their career.
4. Let your people own their processes
In order to unleash your employees’ full potential, you must give them responsibilities. Allocate each employee processes which they own and manage independently. Your role will be to provide them with guidance and be available for consultations. Therefore giving them a sense of ownership and responsibility will enable them to grow in their role quicker and more successfully. It will challenge their time management and organisational skills but with time and perseverance they will acquire skills that won’t come from micromanagement.
This type of management style will build your employees to be able to lead their own teams in the future and soon enough be responsible for entire projects. What’s important for them is to know the end goal. Once this is clear you can take a step back to allow them to take initiative and manage their work using the strategy that they see as a best fit, as well as build a solid base towards better customer engagement.
Irina Georgieva, co-founder of Enterprise League
My best tip? Ask questions. Great managers don’t give orders on what to do, instead, they know how to ask the right questions so team members can figure out the right way to do things.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to listen to those who report to you and try to be helpful in a proactive way. If those who report to you make a mistake, it’s probably a consequence of something you’ve done/said (or haven’t done/said). In these cases, the best thing to do as a manager is to own the mistake and figure out how you can avoid it in the future.
Raul Galera, Partner Manager at CandyBar
Be on the constant lookout
The role of a manager can be nerve-wracking but rewarding at the same time. You’ll be in charge of other people and other people will count on you to make the right decisions and lead the way. But how can you prepare for this new role? First and foremost, have an open mind and be on the lookout for new information. Even though you might be higher-up than most people, it’s important to stay humble and eager to learn at all times.
Secondly, get educated on leadership skills. Learn from the best and bulk up on knowledge about leadership by reading more about the topic.
Lastly, you have to get to know your team since you’ll be working with them. However, remember that you need to be a boss and not a friend. Keep your relationships with your employees at a professional level by avoiding favoritism and staying away from petty gossip
Andre Oentoro, CEO of Breadnbeyond
Even the best manager may not be of much use if their onboarding was rather poor. If you’re a new manager, make sure that you’re getting through onboarding smoothly and without any hassle. If you’re to hire a new manager, ensure the whole team that you’re ready for their arrival and have tools and processes at your disposal. They don't have to be into big data analytics, but they should know KPIs, statistics and metrics important to the position.
Pawel Ogonowski, COO & Cofounder Growcode
Know small bits
You never know what it's going to be. As a manager, you should be fully aware of small bits that may have to be done when someone on duty doesn't deliver. Don't get too bossy and get into the details of your team work so you can replace them when it's needed. Even some small things such as to insert picture into picture or create Instagram post may come in handy and save you a lot of time and hassle.
Kinga Edwards, CEO Brainy Bees
We hope that our tips will come in handy - no matter if you're into remote work, or if you're rather on an office side.