3 Tips to Communicate Effectively as a New Manager


New manager training typically builds a variety of skills – from learning how to manage the performance of direct reports (setting goals, defining expectations and establishing performance metrics) to learning how to prioritize the important and the urgent. But the foundation for all the new manager skills–the one that is critical for success–is being able to communicate effectively.

Here are some experience-based tips in communicating as new managers from our over 20 years’ experience in preparing individual contributors and teams for success:

  1. Set up regular one-on-one conversations with your direct reports.

    There are several good reasons for this. You will get to know your team members on an individual basis – their hopes, their aspirations, their struggles, their concerns. Then you can tailor your job assignments according to their strengths and talents. Far more satisfactory for you both. Also, when it is time for a difficult conversation, there will be less anxiety over “a talk with the boss” because your conversations have been frequent, informal and relaxed.

Another advantage? As you earn the trust of your team, they will open up and feel comfortable telling you when something is not quite right…and you, then, will have the time to correct the problem before it grows too big to handle.

The basic rule to follow? Do more listening than talking. Use open-ended questions rather than closed in order to learn as much as you can about the professional and personal side of your employee.

  1. Make sure team meetings build collaboration among members and a sense of purpose to the work you share.

    Set up some ground rules for acceptable behavior. Discussions should be open; differing perspectives should be welcomed; team member roles and responsibilities should be transparent so everyone’s contribution is understood, appreciated and respected.

    Set an agenda, keep on track and hold everyone accountable for doing what they say they will do. Agree upon action items and assign them with dates for delivery so everyone knows what will be accomplished and when. Check in on the status of your actions items each and every meeting to create transparency and accountability.

  2. Don’t forget to have some fun.

    Work is much more enjoyable if you have fun together and laugh once in a while. If you take yourself too seriously, you’ll drag everyone down. Mistakes will be made…even by you. Put your ego aside, admit your error and share what you have learned from the experience. This will show that you continuously seek to improve. Be a bit humble and your team will follow your example.

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