3 Common and Avoidable Mistakes for First-Time Managers
Being a good leader is an ongoing learning experience. When you begin a new management position, there are ample situations that can result in mistakes or misfires. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re only human – and nobody expects you to be perfect right out of the gate. But you can be prepared to handle common mistakes faced by first-time managers. Here are three common examples, along with tips for avoiding them:
Failure to Ask Questions
Don’t feel pressured to “know it all.” You may feel your skills and knowledge, or even your ability to do your new job, will be doubted if you ask too many questions of either your subordinates or your own boss. But it’s much better to ask than to assume an answer. If your assumption is incorrect, it could result in you being embarrassed and in creating an even bigger problem.
- Foster better relationships. Let others know that by asking questions, you’re not only learning so you can be better in your role, but also you value their suggestions, opinions and support as you acclimate to your new role.
Changing Everything Overnight
As a first-time manager, you may be so excited and anxious to succeed that you’ll want to start making multiple changes immediately. Take time to get to know your new team first. Understand their habits, personalities, and your work culture before making any dramatic changes in the way things are done.
- People understand you’re the new boss. They’re looking for your guidance, help and direction – not your assertion of authority. So, don’t change things just for the sake of making an impact.
- If you assume everything was being done wrong before you arrived on the scene, you may shoot your credibility in the foot. Remember, your team members were likely part of creating those past processes and approaches. They may not all be right, but don’t insult people by immediately dissing them. A better approach is to get to know people, offer tactful suggestions and get their input. Then, drive needed changes.
Failure to Be Yourself
Self-awareness makes you a better manager. You were hired because of who you are, so don’t fall into the trap of feeling you have to imitate others before you.
- If your predecessor was a rock star, you should continue their best practices. But continue to be yourself, not a shadow of someone else. Exert your own management style and personality into your role and don’t hesitate to introduce your own innovations.
- Don’t take it all too seriously. Of course, being a manager is important – to you, to your employees and to your company. But be confident, enjoy yourself, and help make your organization a more fun, relaxed place to work. Set the right tone for success for everyone.
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