Being promoted to your first role as a manager can be exciting and empowering, but the skills needed to be a successful manager don’t always come naturally to everyone. It can be extremely difficult to navigate the ins and outs of a new role, especially one that puts you in a position of authority and requires you to start managing your friends and peers.
Although not every manager has the same management style or has had the opportunity to complete some form of management training, there are some best practices to lean on when making the transition to your first management position.
1. Be a team player. Don’t let your new role go to your head. You’ve been put in this position for a reason—because someone recognized your potential to lead. Regardless of the title, be sure to still treat others with respect and that same respect will be directed your way.
2. Learn to let go and delegate. Recognize your limits as a manager. Micromanaging will add stress to your life and leave your team feeling undervalued and unhappy. Give people a chance to take the lead according to their own style, and remember there can be many ways to achieve a positive outcome.
3. Find a mentor. Having a mentor can help you to better understand what is expected of you and what your new responsibilities are. Identify someone in your organization who has been in your shoes and can help guide you through new situations you may not have faced in your previous role.
4. Listen to your team. Creating an environment that fosters open dialog will let your team know that you’re on their side and that you’re willing to go to bat for them. Consider hosting regular huddles to hear from the group, and establish a way for employees to approach you privately when needed.
5. Don’t forget about you. Identifying opportunities for your team to learn and grow might be high on your to-do list now. But, don’t forget to spend some of your time focusing on continuing your own professional development. A leader never stops learning and growing.
6. Pull from all experience levels. At first, it may seem like managing veterans and those with more company longevity would be difficult, but it all comes back to listening and respect. Utilize their wealth of knowledge and show that you value their experiences.
7. Be clear about objectives and expectations. There’s no greater feeling than knowing where you stand. Whether it’s related to a particular project or an employee’s professional growth, establish clear, achievable goals and set expectations.
8. Communicate. Understand that everyone communicates differently. Some people like to be in the loop about minor details, while others just want to know that a task has been completed. Recognize these differences early on, and use that knowledge to the best of your ability. Also, don’t forget to give feedback and praise where it is needed.
There’s no one right way to manage, but there are lots of way to strengthen your style and, ultimately, strengthen your team.