Advice for New Managers: 7 things you need to know
- November 28, 2023
- Posted by: Hannah Ingram
- Category: Organisational Culture
You’ve been promoted to a management role. Congratulations! The opportunities and hard work to prove yourself starts now.
New Manager Statistics
Before we explore our advice for new managers and management development ideas here’s some staggering statistics about new managers.
- 82% of new bosses are ‘accidental’ managers
- 60% of new managers fail within 24 months of starting their new role
- 33% of people have left their company due to poor management
- 26% of managers have never had any formal management training or development.
Converting individual success into people management skills
People who excel in their roles and high-potential employees (HIPOs) are often promoted into people management positions. However, the leadership skills and mindset needed to manage effectively are very different from the ability to excel at individual performance. For example:
Delegation – Managers need to delegate work effectively, however if they are used to taking on a lot of work themselves it can be hard to hand over the reigns; you might be tempted to finish tasks yourself or micromanage a project.
Decision Making – Making decisions that involve people is a leadership skill that goes beyond the day-to-day project responsibilities which is why effective decision making is such an important leadership skill.
Motivating others – There’s a big difference between being productive at work, generating sales results yourself, vs mentoring and driving a team of your own to perform. What’s more as a leader you need to motivate yourself as well as your team. Be aware that your ability to manage overwhelm will impact your team. You also need to set a good example to your team when it comes to building mental strength and preventing burnout.
Communication – The ability to check in on your team’s wellbeing, handle performance conversations and communicate new projects in a way that generates results are all new territory for first time managers. Many new managers make the mistake of forgetting to carve out enough time for staff. Whether this is for wellbeing conversations, sticking to 1 to 1s or getting back to them on projects. Often people are left waiting a few days for important information.
When you’re new to a management role or promoting someone into a management position it’s important to have a leadership development programme or plan in place. Consider using a trusted organisational development consultancy or using an external consultant to provide development sessions targeting an specific area such as imposter syndrome.
Learning at work week is a great time to promote a learning culture across your whole organisation, something that can be achieved through a mixture of virtual and face-to-face development and coaching through blended learning. It’s also important to keep an eye on the latest leadership trends and work closely with your HR team to remain compliant.
2. Setting goals for teams as a manager
Setting realistic goals is often key to pushing your team to be at their best without inadvertently ruining your chances of hitting a goal as a team.
For example, one of the mistakes sales teams make is to focus on quantity over quality.
70% of organisational goals fail as people don’t feel engaged or committed to the achievement.
Here’s some things to bear in mind:
The joint win –Do they feel that you as a manager have their back and want them to succeed? Or do they see that goal through the lens of you trying to look good as a manager?
Make it matter to them – Goals often fail because they don’t resonate with staff. For example, if hitting an organisational goal means your leadership team will receive a bonus then your factory workers aren’t going to be driven to hit it. Offer employee benefits and engage with them to explain why the goal matters for them.
Notice the small wins – When people feel appreciated, they are far more likely to go above and beyond. 91% of HR professionals believe recognition makes employees more likely to stay in their current roles.
High employee turnover is sure to make your life as a manager more difficult and makes it harder for remaining staff to trust you.
Making the goals realistic – This is particularly important when the goal involves unchartered territory such as sales of a new product. Tread with caution, use market research and consider stretch targets to ease the pressure, high targets which drive fear can cripple productivity and wellbeing, whilst also driving healthy competition where the team aim to achieve great things together and individually as well.
Understand your team – If you are promoted within the same team, you’ll have an edge in terms of understanding their day-to-day experiences in that role, use this to your advantage.
Beyond this you also need to take the time to learn about your team individually, understand the cognitive diversity of your team and consider psychometric assessments to better understand your team. But simply taking the time to get to know them through 1-to-1s and interacting with them can go a long way.
3. Handling difficult conversations
When it comes to challenges as a new manager, handling difficult conversations is often one of the factors that comes up. Sometimes you’ll need HR support to stay compliant. There are lots of hidden dangers with difficult conversations both in terms of employment law and demotivating your team.
The main thing is to go in considering what the best outcome would look like for both parties, step into their shoes and work with them to come to a solution.
Here’s 5 workplace communication strategies for handling difficult conversations.
4. How to influence people
As a new manager it’s important to know how to influence those around you, the team reporting into you and the leadership team you’re working with.
Many new middle managers need to report into a senior management team either directly or to their own manager.
You may need to stand up for your own team whilst also having a voice. It’s your opportunity to drive the conversation forward in terms of innovation and collaboration. You can also make waves by promoting empathetic leadership and promoting wellbeing and diversity.
It’s important to practice assertiveness and comfortable adapting to this new away of working.
“How to win friends and influence people” is a good book resource for this.
5. Hiring as a new manager
Often new managers are tasked with hiring new teammates. This allows managers to choose talent which will match their management style, but there are pitfalls to avoid.
If you’re tasked with job ads ensure you’re making your company stand out and the job ad uses inclusive writing. You may wish to use a trusted recruitment services provider to not only speed up the process but ensure you attract the best people.
You need to be aware of how unconscious bias plays a role in interviews and your hiring decisions. You also need to avoid the top pitfalls for losing great people in the hiring process, such as hosting too many interview rounds or low-balling candidates at the final stage.
The work isn’t over once your new teammate is hired. It’s important to work closely with your HR team on documentation to ensure a smooth onboarding process.
6. Building trust amongst your team
It’s a well-known fact that building trust can be difficult between managers and their teams. However great managers increase personal productivity. When people trust their managers they are able to learn new skills with confidence, they are also more likely to raise an issue surrounding workplace culture.
The executive culture paradox explores how leaders can have blind spots in what’s going on in their own company culture and miss problems that can escalate over time.
7. Assertive vs supportive management
As a new manager it’s a fine line to tread. On one hand you need your people to respect you and to have that authority that gets tasks done. However you’ll lose that respect if you are too direct and demanding.
Last Updated on 1 day by Hannah Ingram