10 Tips For New Managers

Are you about to get promoted at work?  To be successful, you want to focus on these ten things that will help you with the transition.

1- Recognize That Your Duties Are Different

You are used to being hands-on while getting projects done. But now, as a boss, you will have to get used to supervising and trusting your workers to roll up their sleeves. They might come to you because of your expertise, but remember you should coach rather than do.

2-Get to know your employees.

Everyone is different.  As a manager, you will want to spend time with your new colleagues to understand what they like most about their job, their concerns and weaknesses, and their career goals. It’s also good to remember the names of their children, spouse, and pets, as it shows you care about them as a person.

3- Know the difference between being a boss and not a friend.

While you want to know your employees well, you should not mix friendship with supervision. You are seen as the boss, so if you are close with one or two colleagues, it will give the impression of favoritism. If your workgroup goes out for drinks after work, it is ok for the boss to stay long enough for a drink. But then savvy bosses leave and let the party go on without you. Similarly, playing golf with one or two staff members sends the wrong signal to the rest of your team.

4- Learn to be an active listener.

Train yourself to listen attentively to the people around you. Process what you hear, respond accordingly, and remember the essential things you hear.

5- Focus on feedback.

Provide feedback to the people you work with. Share what you know. And don’t forget to ask for feedback about your performance from those around you.

6- Learn to deal with performance issues

Before you were the boss, you may have complained about a colleague’s poor performance. Now, people will look to you to solve their problems. Read up, or take a course on dealing with difficult employees who don’t measure up to their assigned tasks.

7- Be respectful

Many of us have had bosses whose egos got in the way of any good relationship. As you become the manager, treat everyone how you would like to be treated, which means respect and dignity.

8- Ask for input.

Management guru Tom Peters wrote that one of the most important questions you can ask is  “What do you think?”  Everyone wants to feel like their thoughts are essential, and it’s the ultimate form of respect.

9- Be available.

Let those who work with you have access to you. That includes informal meetups and more formal one-on-one meetings, and group sessions. Staff members will feel better if they have your ear, and you will likely learn something by paying attention.

10- Be a Strong Leader

You won’t be a great leader on your first day. It takes knowledge and practice. Seek information to help you build your skillset as a manager.

Following these tips and learning from every experience will allow you to grow into a successful manager.

One final thought. It was slightly more than 30 years ago that I became a manager for the first time. I didn’t have the benefit of a mentor, so I made plenty of mistakes. If you are about to become…or just became…a new manager, I’d like to recommend my book “Be A Leader, Not Just A Manager.” I wrote the book to help new managers not make the same mistakes I did. And because many of my readers work in public media (as I did), I also wrote, “The Public Media Manager’s Handbook.” You might find that helpful as well.

One response to “10 Tips For New Managers”

  1. This is a really good list. I’m at the tail end of a 40-year career as an engineering project manager, and these 10 items are all really important for a new PM to understand. Thanks for writing this.


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