Afraid of Becoming a New Manager? Learn These 4 Skills



Okay, so the prospect of becoming a new manager would not inspire the same kind of fear as if you were facing a hungry shark. But, let’s be real. We know from hundreds of new manager training programs that anyone taking on a new role, especially when they will be in charge of others and others’ performance, has to experience some kind of trepidation.

Our best advice? Assess your skills and develop those you are missing through a targeted and customized new manager training program. As an individual contributor, you were responsible for reaching your own goals. As a new manager, you will be held accountable for your team’s performance and how well they meet team goals. This requires a whole new set of managerial competencies.

As you build your leadership skills for management, there are some behaviors that you can practice along the way. Here are some of the so-called managerial soft skills that will help you earn the respect and trust of your new team:

  1. Know yourself.
    Be aware of how you come across to others and how you prefer to communicate. You may need to tone it down a bit or, on the other hand, be more direct in your interactions. Everyone has a preferred communication style. Once you know yours and can identify the styles of those on your team, you have a much better chance of influencing and communicating effectively. With some you’ll need to be more straightforward; with others you will need to be more tactful. Some situations will require boldness and courage; others will need a light touch and careful weighing of alternatives before decisions are made.
  2. Listen with an ear to learn.
    Find out all you can about how the team functioned before your arrival on the scene. How did they solve problems? What was their decision-making process? How collaborative were they? How did they measure and evaluate performance? Be a good, active listener so your team understands that you value their input and are open to learning what worked before and what changes they might recommend to improve performance.
  3. Set the example.
    If you are looking to create a team environment where there is mutual respect and others’ thoughts are welcomed, you need to model the role of a leader who values diversity and invites feedback.
  4. Understand that popularity is not the goal.
    It’s just natural to want to be liked. However, as a manager, respect is far more important than being elected the “coolest manager ever.” There will be decisions you need to make for the good of the team that will rattle some cages. Perhaps a team member has not been pulling their weight for a long time and needs to be put on a performance improvement plan. Or you may need to cancel flex hours until the latest project is completed. Or maybe bonuses will not happen this quarter because targets were not met. These are all unpopular decisions to make, but they are in the best interests of the organization as a whole. And that’s what leaders do.

Becoming a new manager will require some learning and some adjusting. But, with proven new manager training and help, it is a challenge that you can face with enthusiasm and a good measure of confidence.

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