Managing people is a challenging endeavor, especially for new managers. If you've been newly promoted to a management position, you need to know the common mistakes that rookie managers make, and how these mistakes can affect your working relationships and your reputation before you've even settled into your new position. Use the following new manager mistakes as learning opportunities to make your transition into management a smoother ride.
One of the most common mistakes new managers make is trying to change too much, too soon. The transition to management is exciting, and it can be tempting to want to overhaul current processes and paint over them with your new, fresh ideas. Try to restrain yourself. "Politically, this rubs people the wrong way and actually increases the 'but that's the way we've always done it' syndrome," says Anne Pritchard Grady, president of HR consulting firm Acclivity Performance. The last thing you want as a new manager is to ruffle too many feathers and create enemies. Take your time establishing relationships with your new team before making any changes, and when the time comes to improve things, get a team consensus before moving forward.
Another rookie mistake: using a blanket approach to managing your team. To be successful in management, you cannot treat your team as one big group. Your team is comprised of individuals with different agendas, different working styles and different communication approaches. It is in your best interest to really get to know each of them on an individual level. The more you know about each person's working style, the better you'll be at assigning tasks and projects and pairing them into effective teams. You'll also build stronger individual relationships, which makes it easier for each team member to give you the respect you need.
While it's important to individualize your management style, you want to avoid becoming too friendly with your subordinates. While you want your working relationships to be warm and cordial, you should understand that you cannot make friends with your team members. At some point, there will be information that you know that they can't know. You are also in charge of making decisions that affect them directly, and a friendship can make these types of decisions much more difficult. New managers may also find it hard to give orders or negative feedback because they want their team to like them. This is a challenging part of being a manager, but it comes with the territory. "As the boss, you have to have a professional distance," advises Alison Green, creator of the Ask a Manager blog.
As a new manager, you can't expect to perform perfectly from day one. Each mistake should present a learning opportunity. Take the time to recognize the mistakes new managers make - not tailoring your management approach, trying to change too much too soon and being too friendly - and try to avoid them. With time, your comfort level will increase, and your team will be successful and productive while giving you the respect you deserve.
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