Being a leader is neither as easy nor as simple as some people make it out to be. New managers can find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work to do or things to consider during their first week or month in the position.
Managing a team is difficult—we know just how daunting the position can be. It’s a completely different ball game from the one that your subordinates are playing. It can be hard to do things like keep track of employee engagement or make sure everyone is being productive while you manage your own deliverables.
New managers may feel a little lost or confused in the beginning but as time goes by, everything becomes clearer as you ease into your workflow and things start rolling.
Until then, here are a few important things that any first-time manager should keep in mind.
Attitude Is Key
As with every other profession, the beginning is always the hardest. First-timers will always be prone to making mistakes as they adjust, and first-time managers are not exempted from that.
Keep calm and focus on your goals
Don’t worry too much about making small errors. Mistakes will be made eventually, and the most important thing to remember when something goes awry is to keep calm and collected.
Attitude is very important in the workplace. First-time managers who feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities should remember that they’re the ones calling the shots now, and having the right mindset is key to establishing confidence.
Positively assess the situation
A positive approach to the position will ensure a more productive personal experience, which will lead to personal growth. Once you learn to manage any fear or anxiety, you set yourself up for success down the long road ahead.
A good attitude isn’t just for crisis management. People generally gravitate towards level-headed leaders who are great to be around. Approach every situation with your chin up and you’ll be walking with confident competence in no time.
Being a manager doesn’t mean just being good at your job or bossing people around to make sure quotas or results are achieved. A good leader should always be aware of what’s happening in the workplace and what’s going on with the team to anticipate potential issues.
Like in any relationship, communication should be a priority. Everyone in the team should be made aware of any important details or changes that may suddenly pop up, and as a manager, you should always make sure that your team is up to date.
Provide feedback and alignment
First-time managers should make sure that everyone in the team knows what they need to know. This may be in the form of important announcements or through performance feedback to individual members.
The latter becomes especially important when something that hinders the team’s productivity comes up. A team member may be underperforming for unknown reasons or someone else in the team may want to bring up a sensitive subject related to toxic work culture.
Build a reputable, sociable image
On a related note, remember to be approachable. New hires or people who are generally shy may have trouble speaking to someone with authority. While you shouldn’t be any less professional, it helps to be friendly.
Being a good communicator also lets you build trust with your team. Don’t be afraid to let them know how much they’re appreciated!
Keep the Team’s Morale in Mind
It goes without saying that a manager should always work with the team in mind. Meeting goals and delivering results is expected from everyone, but it is the manager’s job to make sure that everyone is doing okay.
Higher morale leads to higher productivity
Employee morale is often overlooked by first-time managers. Sure, doing things right is great for the company but you should always be aware of how your subordinates can be affected.
High morale is often linked to increases in productivity and an employee’s overall well-being in the workplace. Morale can be raised through giving positive recognition and motivation, or even little things like treating the team to pizza or gathering for a small celebration.
Stay vigilant towards what can affect your team
Keeping an eye on morale is an essential part of team management. Knowing the ins and outs of your team is an important part to making sure that everyone is ready to take on anything headed their way.
Remember that keeping the team’s spirits high is just as important as producing results.
Create A Good Working Environment
A good working environment is closely tied to high morale, but it is also more than just a factor that keeps employees happy. It can help everyone in the team learn faster, work smarter and be more productive overall.
Seasoned employees can help less experienced ones learn faster through direct interactions. They can foster mutual trust between employees and create meaningful working relationships that are beneficial to the organization as a whole.
This is one thing that a rookie manager can easily forget, especially considering the presence of any pre-existing work culture prior to taking the position. Be sure to be on the lookout for ways to get your team to support each other.
Focus on Growth
An employee’s growth is just as important as their morale and their general happiness while working. An article from Business News Daily emphasizes that a good manager should pay attention to the career development of their employees.
Knowing an employee at a more personal level is one way to know what makes someone tick. You can often find how a person works through what they like or if there is anything work-related that bothers them on a personal level.
This is often overlooked by first-time managers, especially those who prefer to keep any personal matters out of work. Remember that employees are people too, with their own unique tastes and quirks. Finding out where an employee fits best is an essential part of helping them grow.
Set Realistic Goals
Martin Luther King Jr. once said that a great leader creates consensus. We’re not implying that your word should be the law; rather, you should be able to assess the needs of both the team and the organization and apply your judgement based on those.
The goals that you set for your team should be based on your own assessment of how your team performs and their ability to complete their tasks. Meeting goals is, in itself, the goal of employee management.
Everything from managing morale, proper communication, team building and everything in between boils down to making sure that the organization’s goals are met. Not every team will be able to achieve perfection, and that’s where realistic goals come in.
First-time managers should know the limits of their employees in order to avoid setting objectives that are unachievable. Once your limits are identified, you will be able to effectively plan your goals while helping your employees be better at their jobs.
Always remember that knowledge is power. Actively seeking out what makes your team tick, putting every member’s pros and cons into consideration, and maximizing strengths are all important to an organization’s overall success.