No matter how much experience you have working in a particular field or specific skill, being promoted to a management position is a completely new area. As a new manager, there’s a learning curve to striking the right balance of stepping back when you need to, while still being involved enough to ensure your team performs to the standard for which you’re held accountable. Avoid these most common mistakes made by first-time managers.
Being Too Hands-On
New managers are faced with transitioning from performing tasks to overseeing the performances of others, but it can be difficult to let that go. Set clear expectations for your team, and then step away to let them handle it. Being too hands-on can make your team think you don’t trust them – not a good start to your professional relationship.
Making Undeliverable Promises
When new managers are starting out, in an attempt to prove themselves, they can end up saying yes to everything from their own bosses or colleagues or offering unrealistic deadlines or results. This can backfire if your team truly isn’t able to deliver what you promised, and make others question your judgment. It’s better to be upfront and say you may need more time or even that you don’t know.
Changing Things Just Because
Some new managers want to make their marks upfront so badly, they call for changes simply to assert their own authority. Only offer solutions or make changes to processes if it is truly helpful for all involved. Avoid changing perfectly acceptable things for no real reason or it can make you look like you’re on a power trip.
Getting Caught Up in Details
Effective managers focus on results, while micromanagers focus on the finer points of the process. New managers may not have yet developed confidence in themselves or their team, and can get caught up in worrying about inconsequential details. Ask yourself what truly matters, and then only focus on ensuring your employees accomplish that instead of worrying if they’re using a method you wouldn’t have.
Not Asserting Boundaries
First time managers, especially those in the awkward position of being in a position of authority over their former peers, may take their efforts to be approachable too far. If you’re too friendly, you blur the lines and make it very difficult to suddenly assert your authority when necessary. Set boundaries with your team – for example, get to know them with small talk, but don’t socialize in a personal setting after hours.
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