Are You a New Manager? Avoid These 7 Mistakes!

Oct 1, 2020 | Performance Management, Professional Development

New managers commonly make a number of mistakes, many of which stem from lack of training as a leader. As they work to fill this advanced role, they may be guided by inaccurate perceptions of what a manager should do. They may also suffer from low self-confidence that causes them to make other common mistakes. Read on to learn the top mistakes to avoid as a first-time manager!

1. Giving too little feedback 

Many new managers fear they’ll be seen as micromanaging if they check in with employees too much, but frequent communication is essential to strong teamwork. Receiving feedback is essential to employees’ growth. New managers are often fearful of giving honest feedback, but today’s employees want and expect it.

You should always ask for feedback, too! It’s a two-way street, though new managers are sometimes afraid to ask for it. 

2. Not sharing a vision

Not having a vision or unintentionally keeping employees in the dark about it diminishes morale and effectiveness. Never assume everyone’s on the same page. New managers may underestimate how much people rely on them to convey their organization’s vision and purpose, often due to a lack of confidence as a leader. Share your vision clearly to bolster team engagement, and if need be, discuss it with your own boss first to gain clarity.

3. Failing to delegate (or ask for support)

Many new managers feel they have to handle all the important things on their own if they want them to be done right. Their previous job probably focused on excelling at hands-on tasks rather than managing a team, and they now have to shift their focus completely. That means not making all the decisions, too. A strong leader empowers others to make some of the decisions or find the best solution to a challenge. “Great leaders can step away from an organization and there is zero reduction in the performance of the team,” writes Entrepreneur.

Likewise, they should ask for support from their own boss or mentors when needed. New managers often feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but it’s actually a sign of strength.

4. Having unclear expectations

New managers often don’t adequately clarify expectations because they don’t realize how much others depend on them to do so. This, too, is often a confidence issue. Make sure direct reports know what you want them to accomplish with a particular task to ensure the best outcomes.

5. Not setting boundaries

Often, new managers feel they need to have an open door all day long (and even after the workday is over). They let distractions break their focus by picking up the phone whenever it rings, or they accept every request for their time. Don’t let yourself be interrupted at any time, by anyone. Instead, set office hours (or virtual hours), a schedule of team check-ins and one-on-ones, and specific times for responding to phone and email inquiries. 

6. Focusing more on friendships than on team culture

Modeling integrity and creating the right workplace culture is more important than being best pals with everyone on the team. Friendships are great, of course, but let them evolve naturally in their own time while focusing on bigger-picture concerns like a healthy culture. In fact, by establishing the right culture, you’ll build the trust that will cause strong relationships to form.

7. Changing too much too quickly

New managers may want to dive in and start creating change immediately to prove their own worth. But that’s usually a mistake. As a new manager, spend your first 30 days asking questions and assessing the situation. Hold off on taking dramatic action until you thoroughly understand the situation from the perspective of a manager. 

Work to avoid these seven mistakes, and you’ll be seven steps ahead of the competition! By doing so, you’ll also build others’ trust in you as a leader.

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