Manager Role… Now What?

You’ve just become a manager either through an internal promotion or by landing another've just become a manager

Woo hoo! Time to celebrate.

But…once you get into your office, suddenly you realize that this can be a scary step, whether you want to admit it or not.

For everyone who is working their way up the proverbial ladder, landing that first job that takes you to the next level into managing other people is an often-coveted role.

You make more money and you have more responsibility.

But how do you step into the role if you’ve never done it before?

Here are some tips to help you be the best possible manager… because no one is ever BORN a manager:

  • Know your own hot buttons… and weaknesses. If you aren’t so savvy about one particular area that you are managing, then take the time to understand it and how you may or may not react when faced with it. By proactively understanding what your hot buttons are and how to handle personal weaknesses (i.e. “I’m impatient”), you can consciously handle your own behavior while providing guidance to the people that you manage.
  • Identify people who are good at being managers and follow their lead. Like how someone leads? Do you see how the people who report to them are completely loyal? Cultivate those same traits in your interactions.
  • Improve your understanding of how to manage people. Good news: You aren’t the first new manager. You may not know everything… and that’s ok. But you can increase your “leadership IQ” by taking classes that can help provide management theories and practical applications that you can use immediately in the workplace.
  • Don’t try to flex your muscles too much. Some people make this fatal mistake by immediately trying to assert how much of a leader they are over their subordinates. Don’t do this.
  • Remove barriers. See something in the way of your team? Step in and do what you can at your level to remove it. You will earn their gratitude.
  • Ask your mentors. Mentors oftentimes have some great insights on leadership lessons learned, and are more than happy to share on how you can avoid similar mistakes as a new manager.
  • Set your own goals on how YOU want to perform. Be careful that you don’t transfer your ambition for a good team performance into your own goals. That should be part of it, but you should also be clear about what you hope to accomplish as a manager, with the understanding that it takes time to adjust to this new role. What kind of manager do you want to be? How are you going to get there?
  • Empower your team. Get to know them and allow them to get to know you. By building rapport, maintaining regular contact, and demonstrating that you have “their back,” teams will feel more empowered to make decisions.
  • Keep it real. Be transparent. Don’t be obscure. People don’t do well with unclear expectations. If you need something, provide specifics including what your expectations are and any other parameters including budget, timelines, etc. Don’t expect people to guess. They are not mind readers.
  • Remember this mantra: Great leaders are respected, not feared. The worst leaders are autocrats / dictators who have unnatural need to be right all the time, no matter the cost. The cost, in that case, would be the respect their employees have for them.
  • Be forgiving… but don’t be a pushover. Tough but fair is a good place to me. By finding an occasional gray areas to give someone the benefit of the doubt, you are being fair. But don’t go so far that people begin deliberately trying to get away with things.
  • Keep learning. After becoming a manager, you shouldn’t stop keeping up on the actual division/department / company functions. Read, take classes, and talk to industry peers so you can provide relevant guidance to team members.

So you’ve just become a manager… and you can become THE BEST type of manager if you use some of these tips to improve your acumen and help fuel everyone’s success.