Coming into the workplace as a brand new manager is an exciting career opportunity, but it is also fraught with pitfalls—if you’re not careful, that is. When you enter an office in a management position, you have to consider what to do with your employees and how to conduct yourself. There’s a balancing act involved, but if you avoid certain bad behaviors and adopt good ones, your new employees will have the utmost respect for you.
Be a Leader, Don’t Dictate
leaderImage via Flickr by innovate360
As a manager, your job is to lead others. At the same time, especially if you’re new, you have to recognize that your employees are not new. They have certain ways they do things. You may want to make changes and that is perfectly okay. However, you have to make these changes gradually. Don’t come in and act like a tyrant. You have a management degree, not a degree in dictatorship! Talk to your employees and ask for opinions. Let them know why you want to make changes and why they’re necessary. Remember that being a boss doesn’t mean being bossy.
Ask for Help, Don’t Assume
ask for helpImage via Flickr by Victor1558
You won’t come into your new environment knowing everything. Don’t overcompensate by acting bossy or making assumptions. You should feel comfortable asking your colleagues, peers, and employees for help and explanations. They’ll recognize that humility and respond to it positively. The best way to learn how things work is to ask questions. Only then does a new manager learn about an unfamiliar workplace; only then does a new manager learn the right tools for the job.
Get a Mentor, Don’t Rely on Others
mentorImage via Flickr by gotshoo
Getting a mentor is a great idea when you’re coming in as a manager. You might choose someone from a former job or someone at your new place of employment. Perhaps you look up to another manager in a different department or a supervisor. Asking them questions and letting them show you the ropes are good for you. Relying on them to solve any problems that pop up in your new position is bad. It may look like you don’t know what you’re doing or, worse, like you’re shirking your responsibilities. A mentor guides, a mentor doesn’t do your job.
Listen Close, Don’t Censor
listenImage via Flickr by Phil Sexton
If you discover that your new employees don’t like your new rules or even the way you do business, it’s tough. Sometimes it’s even hurtful. Your first instinct might lead you to shut down, jump on the defensive, or even censor your employees. Those instincts are understandable but they aren’t helpful. Instead, make sure you talk to the people you work with now. Try to understand their feelings and try to help them understand yours. You don’t need to kowtow to them or change your managerial style, necessarily. Instead, create an open forum in which everyone vents their feelings.
Anytime you come into a new environment, there are hurdles you have to overcome. By being thoughtful and open to constructive criticism while simultaneously holding your ground, you’ll become an excellent manager.