What Employees Need From New Managers
We’ve all felt the panic at some point in our lives: Dealing with a new boss or leader. Whether you’re starting a new job or if your manager has recently changed, the uncertainty, doubt and even fear of working under a new person can be nerve-wracking. Likewise, walking into a new work environment as a manager can be tough as well. You’ll be expected to deal with a whole new group of employees and a work culture that you might be unfamiliar with. You may be tasked with changing the fortunes of a team, department or organization that has been struggling.
The important thing for both sides to remember is that the transition to a new manager isn’t easy for anyone. Different people will react to a leadership change in different ways. This makes sense. After all, managers play an important role in the day-to-day life of an employee.
It’s also important to remember that a new manager is an opportunity for both change and growth. Keeping an open mind and an optimistic viewpoint will prevent everyone from making snap judgments or decisions.
As a new manager, you’ll want to focus on what your employees need from you. Whether you’re stepping into a management role at a new company or if you’ve just been promoted and will now be managing your former colleagues, here are a few things that employees need – and expect – from a new manager.
As a new manager, it’s important to let your employees know that you support them. They may not know you personally or professionally and you might not know the kind of relationship that they had with their previous manager. They may be skeptical that you have their interests in mind.
Let your employees know that you are there to support them individually and as a team. This will allow you to build a culture where teamwork and support are important, which is key to business success.
One of things that I have found to be effective and helpful when starting a new management role is to get to know everyone who directly reports to you. Since individual needs, personal motivators, communication styles, and emotional sensitivity levels vary from person to person, it is extremely ineffective to manage everyone using the same style. Different people respond better to different management styles, therefore it is crucial that as a new manager you learn what style will work best with each of your direct reports.
Get to know what stimulates your individual team members and learn the best ways to communicate with them on an individual level and you will find it much easier to lead the team effectively. Of course communicating with everyone in the same style requires less initial effort on the part of the manager, but in the long run will produce much worse results.
This is especially important when you first become manager. As a new manager, you likely have a number of new ideas and changes that you are itching to make. You may feel that your changes will make employees happier and help the organization at the same time and so you want to get them done as quickly as possible.
While you may in fact have some great ideas, it’s important that you have patience when you first arrive. Sudden change – even if that change is for the better – can startle, confuse and even anger long-time employees.
While it makes sense for you to want to establish your vision early on, make sure that you take the time to understand how these changes can impact employees and the organization before implementing new polices, practices or ideas.
Like Michael Watkins writes about in his book, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, it takes careful planning to match the right strategy with the right situation.
It is crucial that you communicate with your new employees. This is especially true if you are planning on making changes in the department. If you make a change without properly letting employees know why the change is beneficial, there will be resistance against it. If you take the time to properly communicate the reasons behind the change, employees will be more likely to accept your actions and at least attempt to work within your new guidelines.
Remember that communication is a two-way street. While you certainly need to fully explain yourself and your vision to your new employees, you’ll also need to listen to their needs, concerns and questions. A recent Forbe.com article points out that one of the more common reasons that a new leader could fail is by speaking more than they listen. A big part of being a good manager is listening to your employees. Not only does doing so increase morale, but it also helps the company, and can arm you with valuable insights that you would have otherwise never been privileged too.
Perhaps there is a key reason why a particular process is done the way it’s done. If you decide to change that process without speaking to your employees about it, you could end up hurting the organization and demoralizing your staff.
When management changes, so do expectations. Nothing upsets and frustrates an employee more than not knowing what is expected of him or her. Give your employees clear expectations and communicate them in a manner that ensures that everyone understands. You’ll need to explicitly define what “success” means to your team and what steps need to be taken in order to get there. This is true for individual expectations as well as expectations that affect the entire team.
Business goals should make a difference to your organization and it should be obvious when a goal is being met. Consider the difference between telling an employee to “work as hard as he/she can” and telling him or her to “ensure that this task is completed by the end of the month.” One is an arbitrary goal that can’t accurately be measured while the other sets a clear expectation.
Setting expectations involves research and planning. You’ll need to create standards and goals that will help the organization and encourage employees to perform at their best while still ensuring that these expectations are realistic. Telling a salesperson who usually brings in $10,000 of sales that he or she is now expected to bring in $100,000 is frustrating and can make you seem unfair or out of touch. This is especially true if you don’t properly illustrate the steps that need to be taken in order to reach that goal.
Being a new manager is not easy, but if you approach it keeping in mind the points mentioned above you will improve your chances of success and team buy-in. By acting with integrity and learning how to most effectively communicate with your employees, you will gain their respect and be able to build a trusting relationship as a new leader.
Have you had amazing or horrible experiences with a new manager? Tell us about them.
Here are three more great books that will help you prepare for your job as a new manager:
The Truth About Managing People: Proven Insights To Get The Best From Your Team by Stephen P. Robbins
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: What Employees Need From New Managers
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