7 Tips for a First-time Manager

John Krautzel
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If you're a first-time manager, you may feel just a bit of trepidation about the challenges that lie ahead. As you start your climb up the corporate ladder, these seven management tips can help you make wise decisions and get off on the right foot.

1. Plan Ahead

One of the best tips for any first-time manager is to have a plan before you step into the office each day. Set performance goals for yourself and your team, and think through all the possible outcomes. The more planning you do ahead of time, the better prepared you are when things don't go according to plan.

2. Avoid Micromanaging

When you step in as a first-time manager, it's likely that your employees know the lay of the land far better than you do. If you spend your time micromanaging, nitpicking or looking over their shoulders all the time, you're likely to harm your relationship with your team before you even get started. Show trust in your employees so they can learn to trust you.

3. Learn About Your Company

Don't try to pretend you know everything about your new role or company right off the bat. Yes, you have to know the nuts and bolts of your new company so you can make informed decisions, so get to work learning. Spend time with your own bosses and ask strategic questions to learn why this particular company does things a certain way. Once you understand the company's culture and priorities, you're in a better position to lead your team.

4. Be Supportive

Employees are always a bit wary when a first-time manager comes on board, and they can be sensitive to criticism as a result. Go out of your way to be supportive, even when delivering a negative message. Make it a priority to let your team know you're rooting for them to succeed, and have their back if there's a real crisis to face.

5. Express Appreciation

It's one of the classic rules of management: If you want to build a team that will go the extra mile for you, you need to appreciate their work. Take time to express appreciation to your crew every day. If you take credit for others' work or don't show a gracious spirit, your employees aren't going to support you when you need it.

6. Set an Example

Even as a first-time manager, you must be a leader for your team. Pitch in and help whenever you can to show that you're willing to do what's needed to accomplish your department's goals. When your department faces challenges, remember that all eyes are on you. Learn to hold in your opinions when they might affect morale negatively, and model patience and persistence.

7. Know Your Employees' Jobs

Don't give your employees the opportunity to roll their eyes when you don't understand what they're talking about. You can forge a real connection by stopping to learn what each member of your team does.

As a first-time manager, you have to hit the ground running and take leadership even when you're facing challenges you've never dealt with before. As part of your daily plan, take a look at these management tips to get yourself ready to meet the challenges.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net


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