New Realities for First Time Managers
So you finally got that promotion at work. Congratulations! After all those long hours, extra effort, and volunteering to take on more work, you finally got your first management gig. In the heat of the energy and excitement of opening a new chapter in your career, though, like many other first time managers, you may overlook some of the new realities that you will soon encounter.
Here is a short list of ten tips and new realities for the first time manager that will help you make the adjustment:
1. You are required to give feedback as part of performance evaluations – Before becoming a manager you were not required to give feedback to others on their performance, or as part of your job responsibilities. Most companies and organizations require managers provide feedback periodically as part of performance management evaluations. If giving someone direct and raw feedback is not something you’re comfortable doing, it’s worth spending time preparing.
2. Your career now involves the careers of others – One of the most important – and difficult – jobs a manager has is developing their direct reports. Employee development is vital to business growth, succession planning and employee engagement, to name a few of the reasons. The opportunities you create for your people that allow them grow will directly pay dividends back to you in terms of delivering your metrics and keeping your customers happy.
3. What made you successful before is not what will make you successful now – Studies show that high performers are often successful early in their career as a result of their own efforts, dedication and self-sacrifice. As a new manager, you will quickly learn that your team of five or six employees is responsible for more work than you yourself can handle. As a manager, you will be successful only when you can figure out how to get results through the contribution of others.
4. Delegation is your best friend – Many new managers struggle to ask their reports for things. As mentioned in #3 above, they often resort to what worked for them in the past – working a bunch of extra hours to make sure everything got done and done right. Unfortunately, it will quickly become understood that delegation is not only required, it is often a key to survival during weeks of endless meetings and phone calls.
5. You can no longer walk away from conflict – Maybe you recently saw an argument between two of your peers on your way to get a cup of coffee. Previously, you could have put your head down and kept walking as if you heard nothing. As a manager – the head of the team – it is your responsibility to walk towards that conflict and help resolve it.
6. Making decisions should be swift, but careful – As a manager of people, you are the judge and jury to a number of topics and issues that pop up every day. Most of the time, you will not have time to deliberate or recess extensively. Always consider the impact of your decision in a larger context (impact on people, business and customer; both short-term and long-term implications). In most cases, you should make your decisions quickly so as to prevent delay and allow others to keep going about their business. On serious matters, it’s ok to plead insanity to buy yourself time to think through a decision when you have a few quiet moments.
7. Your peer group consists of some of those people you looked up to before – Managing people can be tough and taxing. But it’s important to remember that your peers are now other managers – many of whom have been in the game for a lot longer. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you get stuck. Even experienced managers get stumped from time to time. It’s important to talk about your challenges in order to help you stay on top of your game.
8. Your job is not your life; nor is theirs – Just like you have family, doctor appointments and catch a cold, so do your employees. Just as you make mistakes, forget a meeting, and miss an email, so do your employees. Remember that while you are a manager, you are still human. Don’t forget the same is true for your employees. Don’t lose sight of the fact that life will get in the way from time to time. Figuring out how to navigate when the key expert is out sick will make you far more effective.
9. You are always being watched – It’s normal for employees to keep tabs on what the boss is up to. Off to a meeting, on the phone… yelling at an employee? Remember to watch your behavior in the work place. Whatever characteristics and behaviors your may demonstrate, employees are watching your every move. Treat them as you want them to treat each other.
10. You will feel satisfaction by what others do – It’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, there are numerous challenges and stresses that come with being a leader of people. Sure it can be tiring to have a revolving door of people stopping by your office every day. But managing others is extremely rewarding. When you settle in and start to see the results and benefits of some of those tough decisions you made, or the smile on an employee’s face when you give them a special assignment, you will see how managing others comes with its own set of positive payback to you.
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