Becoming a new manager is like drinking water from a firehose. It doesn’t need to be this hard.
Today we’re diving into 3 mistakes first-time managers make. My hope is by sharing these, you can avoid them.
New managers have the right idea but their execution can cause anguish for their team. In a nutshell, they try too hard to prove their credibility and end up giving the wrong impression.
Here are 3 big mistakes new managers keep making
❌ Mistake #1: Not listening.
Great leaders know how to listen. Unfortunately, most new managers think their job is to only “tell” their team what needs to happen. Your job is to balance the-tell-with-the-ask. If you want to start strong and become a great boss, you have to first get to know your direct reports and establish trust with them. Try experimenting with these questions.
- “What do you like about your current job?”
- “What type of improvements do we need to make in your current role?”
- “How can I help you achieve your goals and aspirations?”
- “What questions do you have for me?”
❌ Mistake #2: Believing your job is to know all the answers.
I’ve made this mistake and I’ve seen most if not all new managers make this mistake too. As the new manager, you have the responsibility of guiding your team to produce better results, however, its not your responsibility to be a know-it-all-boss.
In fact, having all the answers all the time sets the wrong precedent for your team. They start thinking that whatever they do or say, the boss will know the right thing to do, so why even bother trying?. Let me repeat: your strategy is to balance the ask-with-the-tell. There is no shame in saying “I don’t know“. Direct reports appreciate a manager who’s honest vs. a manager who gives them a B.S response.
❌ Mistake #3: Introducing too many changes too quickly
This one’s all too common for senior leaders, however, I see some first-time managers doing this as well. There’s a time and place to make big changes. Usually, that time is not within your first couple of weeks or months as a first-time manager. My guidance to you is to go on a “Listen-and-Learn” tour. Get the lay of the land, observe and ask questions to clarify your thinking prior to making sweeping changes. Talk to your manager, talk to your peers before embarking on this journey. Making premature decisions is a sure-fire way to ruin your credibility and the trust of your team. Tread carefully here.
- Ask questions to establish trust and get to know your new team.
- Become comfortable with saying: “I’m not sure, what do you think?”
- Instead of making sweeping changes in your first weeks as a new manager, look for small wins and deliver them
Becoming a first-time manager can be the most challenging transition in your professional career – You have more people making demands on your time, you have greater visibility in the organization and undoubtedly more responsibility to go along with it.
As a new leader of a team, it’s imperative that you start to take care of yourself, so you can take care of others on your team.
I’m rooting for you.