For most people, becoming a manager can represent a big step in their career. It’s a time of change, a time of challenge, a time of opportunity.
Being promoted to a management position in a company you already work for changes the dynamics between you and your colleagues. You know them and their work practices and work ethics but of necessity, if you are to become a good manager in what is a new role, your relationship with them is likely to change as you change focus and take on new responsibilities.
If you’re joining a new company, particularly if you are moving into what is for you a promoted role as a manager, you face a different set of challenges. You will be going into a new company, possibly even a new sector, with a new team that you had no part in hiring and have no idea of their individual capabilities.
I asked some of our managers here at TMM Recruitment what advice they would give to anyone making their first move into management.
- Consider your own experience and what you’ve learned from people you think are good managers. What is it about their approach that you’d like to apply to your own style of management? Be as self-aware as possible because your behaviours and attitude will define how you’re perceived as a manager.
- Set up 1-2-1 meetings with your team. If it’s a new team, it’s a chance for them to get to know you and for you to find out more about them. If you’ve been promoted, a meeting to discuss the new dynamic with each member of staff at the outset can really help clarify the change in roles, expectations you have of each other, individual accountabilities, and shared goals.
- Step away – one of the biggest challenges can be stepping back from what was previously your role. Give the person who is taking over the scope to make it their own. Be patient and don’t micromanage. You can advise and support them, but if you micromanage they’ll never learn for themselves how to do the job. Giving ownership and accountability can motivate someone to identify new and possibly better ways of working, and particularly for less experienced team members, it enables them to develop their own working style.
- Fundamental to your team’s success is understanding how each person prefers to be managed and recognising that everyone learns in different ways. Management is not about controlling your team; it’s about empowering them and making them realise they’re part of the bigger picture and that what they do contributes to the overall success of the company.
- Be authentic, genuine and lead by example. The most obvious courtesies can easily slip in the busy day-to-day, but they mean a lot, such as being responsive to requests for input or help. Give credit where credit is due and say thank you for work well done or a positive approach. Learn to delegate but don’t simply pass on work you’re supposed to be doing to someone else and never take the credit for someone else’s work as this badly undermines loyalty.
- Show up for the people you are managing and come to a relationship with each member of your team from a position of trust. You need to give trust and respect to gain trust and respect, the adage “You reap what you sow” springs to mind.
- Give timely feedback – if you have an issue or concern, address it at the time so people can relate to it, don’t sit on it for a couple of weeks to bring it up at a monthly meeting. Likewise, when acknowledging a job well done – don’t leave the person wondering if you even noticed their efforts.
- Manage relationships and don’t avoid difficult situations. You may be working with a good friend but there will be times you will have to separate the two, and that can be tough, but you have to be honest and upfront. Similarly, with difficult relationships or issues of poor performance, you must address these as they arise. Poor performance by a member of your team can have a knock-on effect, impacting everyone else’s motivation and performance.
- If you’re not sharing the same workspace and rely on tech to stay in touch it’s harder to be subtle or nuanced. Be mindful that your communication style and the content of your messages may have to change so that you are perceived as tactful and helpful, rather than micromanaging or “checking up”.
- Have confidence in yourself – you were given this job for a reason. Believe you can do it and don’t always fly solo. Tap into the knowledge and experience of peers or people doing your job in a different area of the business. Your own development doesn’t stop now you are a manager so think about what you need personally to continually learn and improve.