So you’ve been promoted to a management role, and suddenly, you feel as though the world is moving faster than it ever has before. You’ve always been a high performer at work, but now you are facing new challenges you never previously encountered. You find yourself thrust into professional interactions with higher stakes than you’re used to. Your calendar quickly fills with so many meetings you can hardly believe there are enough hours in the week for all of them, and you worry you may experience a dip in the quality and quantity of your day-to-day work as you strive to commit to your new people-management responsibilities.
Don’t worry: This is an extremely common narrative for new managers, and every highly successful business leader has faced and overcome all of these same challenges at one point in their career. If you’re facing a daunting transition into your first manager role, check out these five insightful new manager tips to help you develop effective management strategies that can last a lifetime.
1. Project Confidence
A phrase that has achieved some measure of popularity in contemporary discourse is “Fake it ‘til you make it.” While it may seem flippant, this idiom hits on a vital truth about management: Confidence breeds confidence. Maintaining an even keel and projecting an air of cool, rational confidence when you make decisions as a manager will inspire your team members to have confidence in you, and in turn to approach their work with a greater level of commitment.1
Overall, you should strive to act in a way that you believe is representative of a good manager. This does not necessarily mean to try to be likable above all else, but rather to communicate with your team members in a manner befitting of a strong leader.2 Be decisive, listen to your team, and show through your actions that you are a person who inspires trust and commitment.
2. Seek Out a Strong Mentor
One of the best sources for detailed and insightful new manager tips is someone who has already gone through this transition. A trusted mentor who has been in a management role for some time is well-positioned to pass on management strategies to you that may have helped them in the past. Whether your company offers a formal mentorship program or you simply have a strong relationship with your current or past manager, take the time to cultivate a relationship in which you can ask for advice whenever a new challenge arises.2
That said, you should be careful not to directly imitate another’s management style. You may not be the same kind of person with the same kind of rapport that your previous manager maintained, or you might risk closing yourself off to new ideas if you stick solely to those you’ve encountered before.3
3. Strive for Structure Without Micromanaging
When you take on the responsibility of managing people for the first time, it is only natural to want to make your mark on the day-to-day operations of your new team. Being responsive, communicative, and giving clear instructions can go a long way toward improving your team’s functionality. Employees typically value constructive direction from those in leadership roles. A recent study indicates that 65 percent of workers desire more feedback from their manager than they are currently receiving.4
There is a limit to this kind of communication, though. Be careful not to provide too much or too critical feedback, lest you run the risk of micromanaging your employees. Empowering your team to use their strengths to overcome challenges they face is one of the most valuable management strategies you can develop, as it will improve the efficiency of your team, lighten your personal workload and allow you to devote your time to more pressing concerns, and grow your employees’ confidence in themselves and respect for you as a leader.5
4. Assume a Team-First Perspective
As a manager, you will not be measured solely on your individual work but on the overall performance of your whole team. You are now tasked with ensuring your entire team succeeds, and your approach to work is going to have to change to reflect that. One of the most important, but often counter intuitive, new manager tips is to let go of your drive to do things as frequently as you used to. You simply will no longer have the time, and you’ll quickly find that your daily to-do list of tasks to accomplish has been replaced by a less concrete directive to help your team members accomplish everything they need to each day.3
Once you are less focused on your own task-driven work, you can truly begin to develop strategies for your team. This starts with learning when to de-emphasize one-on-one interactions with separate employees and instead prioritize the growth of a productive, positive culture among all team members.6 A truly strong manager knows how to make the team function as more than the sum of its parts by maintaining effective group dynamics.
5. Never Stop Learning
Being promoted to a leadership role or hired into one for the first time does not mean you have reached the end of your business education. As you move into a management role, you should strive to keep an open mind in order to successfully adapt to the unforeseen challenges that will undoubtedly arise.4 Adaptability is a mindset that you must learn to nourish, not only to transition successfully into managing people, but to prepare yourself for future unexpected changes to your role, your organization, or your career that will happen over the course of your professional life.
To help yourself remain intellectually curious and open to growth, maintain a regular regimen of reading business and management literature to open yourself up to the experiences and insights of those who have had success in their field. Most importantly of all, do not be afraid to ask questions.1 No one is in this alone, and all the confidence in the world—real or simply projected—is no substitute for shared professional wisdom.
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