First Time Managing? Prepare with These Tips

Written by Rachael Skinner

June 27, 2018

Becoming a manager is a great opportunity, but one for which you must be prepared. The more prepared you are for the new challenges you will face, the more successful you will be. You ARE going to be challenged by the new decisions, duties, and conflicts you are going to face in this important position. There are new skills and abilities you are going to have demanded of you that were not required of you before you were promoted.

Here are our top tips to help you be set up for success as a first-time manager:

Get a Mentor

Since most first-time managers feel they do not get sufficient training nor have a support system they can rely on, find a mentor experienced in your industry. They have been in the situations you are going to be in and their help can be invaluable. Be proactive and be your own best advocate by creating the training and support you need rather than waiting for it to be provided.

Set Goals

Determine your personal and professional goals. What do you want for yourself and your team to accomplish? What do you hope to get out of your new position? Clearly define them, using SMART goals as a guideline.

Evaluate Gaps and Fill Them

Consider what gaps there are in your education, expectations and professionalism and fill them.  Find classes in your area that teach a different type of management or go over different aspects of management you may encounter. Get to know about the different departments you are going to be managing AS WELL AS the employees that work in these departments.

Make sure you know exactly what your boss expects from you and compare those against your goals. Communicate clearly your expectations to your team.

Be professional and consider areas where you may need professional development such as appearance, language, behavior and more.

Adopt a Leadership Mentality

The fact that you were chosen for a management position means you probably have some innate abilities to lead. Even your natural skills will need to be strengthened, and, of course, there are going to be other skills you need to learn and build.

Give up people pleasing. As a manager, it is not your job to make sure everyone is happy. It won’t happen. Instead, focus on fair leadership and the ability to make difficult decisions without trying to please everyone. Some members of your team may be displeased with your choices, but they usually don’t know all the moving pieces that are part of your consideration. Make decisions based on the greatest benefits in line with the company culture, ethics, and law.

You aren’t responsible for how others feel. Your decisions should be made based on good managerial reasons, not based on creating or deflecting a certain type of feelings in others. Empathy is a huge skill in Emotional Intelligence and awareness of other’s feelings are important, but should “run the show”.

Say NO when necessary. You can say no with kindness and sincerity, but you must still be firm. Don’t be afraid to say no with confidence when necessary. And remember that life is full of both natural and forced consequences-don’t get in the way of those.

Show respect. Nice people don’t always get respect, but those who show respect almost always get respect in return. If you feel obligated to be nice, it will only lead to you having feelings of guilt.  Remember, you cannot please everyone. If you do something nice for someone, it may be upsetting to another.

Respect yourself. People can see how you talk and behave whether or not you respect yourself. Take care of yourself. It isn’t unusual for managers to burn-out by not taking time to care for themselves because they always “put out fires”. Instead, keep healthy routines to respect and honor yourself.

Sometimes leading and being liked are one in the same, but not always. Be prepared to be a leader first and you will be successful. And, congratulations!

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