It’s all too easy to be carried away with a new position of authority—we have all felt the corrupting influence of power, no matter how trivial. When being promoted to, or being hired straight into, a management position for the first time, it is essential that you don’t fall foul of the traditional pitfalls. This article will provide an overview of the most common blunders perpetrated by new managers, and give you some tips as to how these can be avoided.
Trying to be the Star
If you are in a management position you have more than likely proven yourself to be a talented, determined and hard-working individual, and almost certainly made it to this spot with a tenacious mindset. One of the problems that many new managers find is that they are unable to adapt this mentality into one of leadership—instead of delegating tasks and organising a workforce, they continue to work on the projects themselves. Although it is important not to slack after being promoted, a management position requires a different attitude, and you have to sacrifice pride of place as the office star in order to achieve this.
Doing your Team’s Work
Linked to this idea is the problem of micro-management. By taking on the workload as a manager, you inevitably find yourself performing the individual tasks of your employees. This is dangerous even without the aspect of neglected managerial duties—a more pernicious problem with this is the undermining of your workforce. You will patronise, and in so doing alienate, your staff by implying a lack of confidence in them: this means that once you realise that your managerial position requires different attention, you will no longer have a team willing to work hard for you.
One of the biggest problems as a new manager is the need to gain both the affection and confidence of your team. Individually, these are easily attainable goals, but together they are more difficult to achieve. Being in many ways inherently shallow, people tend to prioritise affection, and feel as though the best way to do this is to show themselves to be “authentic” or “human” by exposing their floors. However, self-deprecating humour can undermine your authority, and prevent you from being the leader you are required to be.
Taking a “Settling-In” Period
It is very easy to take your time in a new job, and to avoid making any decisions in the first few weeks. Although it may feel as though early changes would irritate your workforce, some alterations may, contrarily, prove to be extremely popular moves. Cancelling mutually abhorred meetings (or introducing a short, communal break) will make you appear friendly, empathetic and reasonable, which is a wonderful way to start your tenure.
Lack of Feedback
Sometimes, especially in the case of internal promotions, new managers are uncomfortable being in charge of their former peers. One notable consequence of this is their reluctance to give feedback—new managers can feel as though they aren’t qualified, or that they won’t be taken seriously when providing employee evaluations, so they don’t do them. A new manager should never be afraid to be honest with their team, and should never let a factor as trivial as social pressure sway their opinions or assessments.