What is a First-Time Manager?
The definition of a first-time manager is an individual who has recently been promoted to a management position for the first time in their career. They are responsible for leading and supervising a team of employees, setting goals, making decisions, delegating tasks, and ensuring that their team is productive and efficient. A first-time manager may face challenges as they adjust to their new role and responsibilities. Still, with proper training and support, they can develop the skills and confidence needed to be successful.
What Should a New Manager Do in the First 30 Days?
The promotion to people management for the first time is a significant development in a professional’s career. But first-time managers may feel like a fish out of water with their new responsibilities.
So during the first 30 days, new managers should:
- Learn as much about leading as possible.
- Block off time to plan and set goals.
- Speak to their lead about job responsibilities.
- Meet with their direct reports.
- Adopt a growth mindset.
Managers improve their leadership techniques with experience. However, the time for them to finesse their skills can cost organizations. Organizations that assist with manager training can see better and faster results from giving inexperienced employees leadership opportunities. New manager training improves company culture, increases productivity, and fosters leaders who drive results. First-time managers can learn critical skills with guidance. Their first month can lay the foundation of their career.
Onboarding and New Manager Training in the First 30 Days
Onboarding programs and mentorships make the transition easier and smoother. Learning the proper management styles and techniques will determine how managers handle situations and cultivate the atmosphere at work. It affects their general decision-making and reflects the organization. Proper support in the first month can include the following:
- Understanding the company’s overall objectives.
- Identifying the organization’s management style preference.
- Learning of expectations and responsibilities.
- Meeting with peers and team members.
- Creating 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans and listing goals.
11 Reasons You Need First-Time Manager Training
Training is vital. Training can provide a foundation of knowledge, skills, and resources to help first-time managers succeed in their roles. Training can support first-time managers in several ways:
- Developing management skills: First-time managers can receive training on essential management skills, such as delegation, communication, leadership, and conflict resolution.
- Understanding company policies: Training can help new managers understand the company’s policies, procedures, and cultural norms, allowing them to make informed decisions and effectively manage their team.
- Networking: Training sessions can allow new managers to network with their peers, establish relationships, and share their experiences.
- Enhancing confidence: Training can help first-time managers build their confidence and feel more prepared for their role, reducing the stress and anxiety often associated with new management positions.
- Improving decision-making: Training can teach new managers decision-making techniques and best practices, improving their ability to make effective and efficient decisions.
- Improved performance: Investing in training can help first-time managers develop the skills they need to be effective in their role, leading to improved performance and better results for the company.
- Retention: Providing training and support to first-time managers can help them feel more confident and competent in their role, reducing the risk of burnout and turnover.
- Increased productivity: A well-trained manager can lead to increased productivity and motivation among their team, as they are better equipped to provide guidance, support, and feedback.
- Better alignment with company goals: By providing training on company policies, procedures, and best practices, first-time managers can be better aligned with the company’s goals and objectives.
- Better decision-making: Improved decision-making skills can lead to better outcomes for the company and reduce the risk of costly mistakes.
- Reputation: Companies that invest in training for their employees, including first-time managers, are often viewed as more attractive to job seekers and are perceived as having a strong commitment to employee development and growth.
Overall, investing in training for first-time managers can help large companies improve their bottom line, enhance their reputation, and retain top talent.
The Benefits of Strong First-Time Managers
First-time managers have typically shown high potential and performance. However, they need more than to excel at their previous position to become quality leaders. Some of the benefits of strong managers include:
- Increased productivity and profits.
- High employee engagement and morale.
- Decreased turnover and absenteeism.
- Clear expectations and goals.
- Improved brand and culture.
The best management techniques and styles to learn will depend on the organization and the new manager’s capabilities. Organizations can fuel growth through learning tracks and providing a mentor. A skill assessment can be part of their training and development plan.
Manager Skill Development
The specific skills a manager needs depend on their role and responsibilities. However, some are essential requirements. The following are some must-have skills to be an effective leader.
Motivating Others: Managers help their direct reports perform their jobs and accomplish shared business goals. Motivational skills can assist managers in inspiring employees to improve their performance and succeed in their roles. They can also encourage teams faced with unique challenges.
Communicating Effectively: Communication includes verbal, written, and nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, facial gestures, and body language. Managers must develop practical communication skills to communicate project directions, expectations, and goals confidently. Additionally, they need to provide and receive feedback, especially during difficult conversations.
Problem-Solving: Managers use problem-solving skills to figure out valuable solutions quickly. This skill helps managers overcome obstacles, improve their team’s job satisfaction, and encourage creativity. Moreover, the ability to solve complex situations demonstrates leadership. Employees often turn to their managers when they reach an obstacle.
Delegation: It can challenge first-time managers to shift from doing to leading. Managers must learn how to delegate. Delegation demonstrates trust, giving direct reports autonomy to complete something. It helps employees’ professional development.
Time Management: Proper time management requires organization and prioritization. Managers must be able to plan and communicate a schedule to keep their team on track. Managers with good time-management skills have less stressed employees.
How to Develop Management Styles
A management style is an overall approach to leading people. It is the way managers achieve their goals. Managers’ style influences how they organize, plan, and use authority. Managers may switch their approach based on the environment, situation, or specific employee.
Organizations may encourage or enforce a specific style. Leaders’ approach should reflect the company’s culture. The following are the most common management styles.
Authoritative managers set clear and direct expectations and goals. They are in complete control and accept little to no input from their team. This style can help develop unskilled workers who need consistent coaching and supervision.
When combined with patience and empathy, the manager acts as a mentor. Conversely, a manager could come across as a dictator without the proper soft skills.
Affiliative managers focus on creating a harmonious team. They promote open communication and emotional connections. Managers who practice this style have a strong moral compass.
As a result, teams:
- Experience less workplace stress.
- Feel a sense of inclusivity and safety.
- Have higher morale.
- Report higher job satisfaction.
These leaders resolve conflicts and establish employee trust more efficiently. Teams of affiliative managers are solid and productive.
Democratic leaders seek feedback and input from their teams. They encourage conversation and participation in the decision-making process. This might be effective for first-time managers to approach a situation or task where the team members are the experts.
Employees feel valued with this style. Additionally, they are more engaged and offer their ideas and opinions more.
Laissez-faire managers provide little staff supervision. They leave almost all problem-solving and decision-making up to the employees. Managers focus on their tasks rather than become involved with day-to-day activities.
Yet, they check in on teams’ work performance and:
- Provide feedback.
- Deliver training and support as needed.
- Take charge when necessary.
- Accept responsibility for the team’s actions and results.
This hands-off approach only works well with highly skilled teams. However, it cultivates a relaxed and creative workplace. Additionally, employee retention and engagement rates are higher.
The Top 10 New Manager Dos and Don’ts
A promotion is an exciting time, but first-time managers face new challenges. It can take time to hone their style. Below are some quick tips on how they can transition into their new role more smoothly.
1. Do Work at Becoming a Good Listener
Managers must listen as much as they talk. A good listener is more than just quietly waiting for their part in the dialogue.
Active listeners pay attention to the speaker with their minds and body. Therefore, speakers should know they are being listened to through eye contact and body language.
Good listeners focus on what another person is saying. However, they also engage with their ideas thoughtfully and comprehensively.
2. Do Network with the Team and Coworkers
New managers should form strong professional relationships with their employees and peers. Performance reviews are an organic way to learn more about employees than trying to make small talk. It’s a chance to engage while learning more about their wants, needs, and concerns.
Being a new boss often goes together with having a new boss. As a result, first-time managers can benefit from their experience. Additionally, experienced peers can be great resources when managers reach their first hurdle.
3. Do Keep Your Word
First-time managers must be impeccable with their promises, or they could develop a bad reputation. Although managers have authority, they can only control some outcomes. And employees are less likely to follow an unreliable leader.
4. Do Lead by Example
Managers should be role models to foster a culture of accountability, loyalty, and collaboration. First-time managers can increase trust and engagement by being an example for their team. Also, workers may be inspired to follow the lead of a former coworker who was recently promoted.
Leaders have followers, and employees will mimic their managers. If a new manager comes into work late and slacks off, their team may do the same.
5. Do Create Training Programs to Help People Grow
A new manager’s job can be difficult without trained and qualified workers. Training programs improve productivity, employee engagement, and retention. Group training programs can also boost collaboration and morale in teams.
Learning and development are valuable at every stage of the employee lifecycle. For example, first-time managers can develop leadership skills that could take years from experience alone. Training programs with teams can also improve the transition of a new supervisor.
6. Don’t Make Assumptions
First-time managers may be privy to water cooler talk. But workplace gossip can lead to unconscious biases. Instead, individuals should draw their conclusions from first-hand experience.
Similarly, new managers may hear stories about what their position requires. Instead, they should discuss clear expectations with their supervisor.
7. Don’t Become Defensive
While internal mobility benefits employees and organizations, it doesn’t prevent employees from criticizing their new boss. As new managers, it’s their job to put on a professional face. Managers should not become defensive and attempt to argue or correct the critic. It would be best not to take anything personally.
8. Don’t Take Credit for Others’ Work
As the boss, claiming credit for their team’s work can be tempting. But intellectual theft can destroy teamwork, foster distrust, and create resentment.
Honest managers report factual information and give credit where it’s due. Recognizing good work can increase the likelihood of a repeat performance. Plus, a team member doing good work still reflects positively on the manager.
Employees want to feel valued and will work towards acknowledgment. But conversely, if their boss steals their ideas, they may be reluctant to come forward.
9. Don’t Criticize Employees in Front of Others
No one likes to hear disapproval, but an audience makes it worse. Managers should speak to workers privately if they need to reprimand them.
Public criticism is demoralizing for more than just the subject. The entire team can cringe when one of their peers receives a negative lecture. Additionally, they may worry that the same will happen to them if they make a mistake.
10. Don’t Disappear
New managers must be visible to their staff and supervisors. People feel more connected with someone they can see. Hiding in an office creates physical and emotional distance.
Time spent in front of staff includes more than just during meetings. If time is willing, managers should spend at least 10% of their day informally talking with their team, developing a rapport.