How to Avoid 5 Common New Manager Slip-Ups
Most experienced leaders know the opportunities to mess up as a new manager are many.
And though you may have rightly earned your promotion through superior technical expertise and hard work, these are not the traits that will, on their own, help you succeed as a new manager or supervisor.
You need to set aside the characteristics that won you the new job and develop those characteristics from new manager training that will support success in your new leadership role. As a new supervisor, you need to develop the foundational skills of leadership: building solid relationships with stakeholders throughout the organization and managing the performance of your team (aligning goals, motivating, empowering, coaching, and recognizing work well done).
Avoid these five common new manager slip-ups:
- Underestimating the value of empathy
Having worked as an individual contributor, you may not realize how important it is to have empathy when you strive to build and lead a team. Understanding the individuals who report to you—their strengths, their interests, their development areas—is critical to showing that you care. Empathy ranks higher than both intelligence and professional expertise in driving high performance and better teamwork.
- Ignoring the power of purpose
Employees work harder and are more engaged when they understand how their specific contribution directly fits in the overall organizational picture. They want to know that what they do matters. Good managers help their employees understand how their work fits into team and company goals.
- Lack of self-awareness
New managers benefit greatly from understanding how they come across to others. When they know their preferred style of communication and recognize the communication style of their employees, they are much better able to connect and influence in a more effective way. Especially at first as you begin to build relationships, your tone of voice, body language, word choice and behavior have a huge impact on how you are perceived. These early perceptions can have outsized negative consequences on the performance and motivation of the new team.
- Lack of flexibility
The pace of today’s business is fast, fast, fast. Good new managers need to be ready to keep up with changing conditions and flex to the shifting demands of executive leaders. The more you keep your team members in the loop with honest communication and knowledge sharing, the better your team will be able to adjust and support change.
- Disregarding the importance of empowerment
To stay motivated, we all need a sense of achievement. New managers, in their angst to see that everyone does their job right, are apt to overmonitor their employees and thus rob them of this critical factor in employee engagement. Get out of their way. Set guidelines and then empower your team to do their jobs without your interference. If professional development is needed, provide it. If you have a substandard performer, address the problem with compassion and, perhaps, find a better match for their skills.
Congratulations on your promotion to new manager. Acknowledge that you have a lot to learn. Get the new manager training you need, re-set your compass and good luck!