You’re a manager now. Congratulations! Now what?
First-time managers often face a challenge in developing the unique skills needed to lead people. It’s a journey that can seem daunting at first and is filled with traps.
I’ve trained and worked with many managers during my career and have seen patterns in what tends to be successful and what isn’t.
Here are ten tips to help new managers master what business author Henry Mintzberg once called “a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”
1. Don’t micromanage
This is a classic mistake that many new managers make. Employees need to be provided with guidance and then allowed to own their successes and failures. Trust them. In a word: delegate.
2. Change your mindset
New managers are often promoted because they were exceptional individual contributors. However, when moving into management it’s important to spend time amplifying the abilities of others instead. Recognize the contributions of others, publicly and often. It’s no longer all about you!
3. Embrace others’ ideas
Given the opportunity, your team is likely to come up with far better ideas than yours. It’s important for new managers to work with employees closely and let their ideas flourish.
When employees feel their contributions are making a difference, their engagement will go up and the company will be better off.
4. Understand politics
If your team or department is getting more budget, exposure or headcount at the expense of other teams, you’ll have a long-term challenge ahead of you politically.
Always make sure to share gains and do so in a way that benefits all teams. Conflicts arise, but can be defused by sharing improvements.
5. Don’t play games
As a new manager, you can easily get drunk with power. You’ll see early on that you can manipulate almost anyone into doing things for you. Don’t fall for that temptation.
Go the extra mile in explaining to people, with facts, why something needs to be done. Doing so eliminates the negative feelings that people can have when they feel they’ve been pushed into doing something they didn’t believe in.
6. “Manage up” properly
One of the pressures that comes with being a new manager is the feeling you need to prove that the organization is receiving a solid return on investment, so be judicious when it comes to merchandising you and your team’s results to higher-ups.
You want to celebrate successes, not grandstand.
Properly managing up has another essential ingredient — tackling as best you can rather than just tossing them up the chain. As a manager, you’re expected to solve problems, not punt them.
7. Train your replacement
Your goal should be to make your team as good as they can possibly be. This means working with them to get better at what they do, determine who can replace you someday and groom your replacement.
That’s a good thing for the organization and for your own career.
8. Devote time to the team
You know those one-on-one meetings you have to cancel sometimes? Stop.
Occasionally, conflicts are unavoidable, but show your team that they are important to you. Canceling meetings with team members sends the wrong message.
On the flip side, if they push your meetings, push back. Your number one priority is to develop the careers of your team and they need to know that.
9. Define goals
When you meet with your team regularly (you do that, right?) you should be reviewing how they’re tracking toward their goals.
When staff hit objectives, set a new stretch goal. Don’t overdo it on pressuring your team, but if you aren’t pushing at least a little, your team might start to stagnate.
10. Learn as much as you can about the team
Sometimes, a new manager doesn’t actually know how to do what their team does. If this is you, spend the time to learn.
You don’t have to know how to debug each library of code written or be an expert at machining a part out of sheet metal, but it helps to understand what people do in order to empathize with them.
This article was written by Charles Edge. He is the director of professional services at Jamf, a company that has solely focused on bringing the Apple experience to organizations since 2002. He holds 20 years of experience as a developer, administrator, network architect, product manager and CTO. He is an author of 16 books and more than 5,000 blog posts on technology, and has served as an editor and author for many publications. @cedge318