5 Ways to Succeed as a First-Time Manager

Successfully managing a team is difficult under the best of circumstances. And when you’re new to the job, the task can be even more daunting. However, you received this honor for a reason. So, put your skills to use and tackle the challenge using these expert tips.

  • Remember to Serve

    When author Simon Sinek asked General George J. Flynn, “What makes the marines so great?” He replied, “Officers eat last.” Flynn was referring to a tradition in which senior marines move to the back of a meal line. This displays their ongoing willingness to sacrifice their personal interests for the good of those they serve. While it’s tempting to enjoy the perks and privileges of leadership, your first responsibility is to your employees. Inspire, build confidence, clear roadblocks and, above all, protect your team.

  • Clear Communication Expectations

    In his book, The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle writes, “Leaders are inherently biased to presume that everyone in the group sees things as they do, when in fact they don’t.” Never assume your employees know what you want them to accomplish. Constantly clarify goals and check for understanding.

  • Get to Know Your Employees

    Connecting with your workers on a personal level not only builds camaraderie and trust, it also allows you to become a more effective manager. As Al Pittampalli, the author of Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World, puts it, “People are complex creatures, and we can’t communicate with and influence them effectively if we don’t know their interests and positions.”

  • Hold People Accountable

    Staffing and recruiting expert Scott Wintrip warns managers, “Holding employees accountable doesn’t feel good. It can make us uncomfortable, even fearful that we won’t be liked or that the employee may quit.” He urges newly promoted leaders not to let their niceness get in the way of keeping track of their teams. Ultimately, accountability is an act of compassion. He advises, “Say what you mean, just don’t say it mean.”

  • Ask for Feedback

    According to Cornell Psychology Professor David Dunning, human beings are miserable at self-evaluation, but they are quite good at evaluating their peers. In other words, if you want honest feedback on your performance, you’ll have to ask your employees. Of course, you’ll probably find it difficult to receive sincere responses in face-to-face meetings. After all, who wants to tell their boss s/he is doing a bad job? That’s why, companies such as Google, use an anonymous Manager Feedback Survey. However, be prepared. If you genuinely want to improve, you must be willing to take criticism constructively and to wrestle with some things you may not want to hear.

Are You Struggling to Add the Right People to Your New Team?

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