When I was a manager for the first time, I was completely lost. I learned a lot and that’s why I teach leadership. I want to help you avoid the same mistakes that I made. Here are 5 things I wish I knew before becoming a manager.
Common Management Pitfalls
There are several common management pitfalls that many first-time (and to be honest long-time) managers encounter.
- Wrong motivation – Managers should be motivated to support their team. Many people go into management to fulfill a dream of leadership without thinking about what the actual job entails.
- Command and control – This approach to leadership is from the industrial age and does not work outside of the military. You need to keep your management approach up to date.
- Being a people pleaser – You will not be able to please everyone on your team. You will inevitably have to make a decision that someone does not like and you have to be able to resolve conflict.
- Hiring the wrong people – Managers need to understand how to attract top talent for their team or organization. Your team should be diverse to ensure a high level of innovation.
When I inevitably realized that I was a bad manager, I thought I was not cut out for management. If you’re wondering if you should be in management, you are not alone. Many people struggle with managing teams for the first time. I can assure you, you’re on the right path by watching this video!
1 – Build Relationships on Your Team
The first thing you need to learn is to build relationships on your team.
- Get to know your employees as people. This will go a long way to establish trust on your team.
- You should understand their interests and be aware of their personal life outside of work.
- Sharing your own interests will show your employees that you are, in fact, human!
When you build relationships with your employees, you will begin to establish trust. If your employees do not trust you, they will not perform at their best.
- When you have casual conversations about your employees’ lives, interests, hobbies, you will begin to see them as people. A lot of managers tend to be overly professional but you should show your employees that you have interests outside of work.
- Creating a strong connection with each and every one of your employees will help your team perform better.
- When your employees trust you, this goes a long way to also establish trust between co-workers on your team.
2 – Set Clear Goals
The second thing I learned about management is to set clear goals. You need to provide your employees with the answers to these questions:
- What is expected of them? You need to provide detailed information about the overall goal as it relates to their role.
- What is the timeline? Set milestones to track progress along the way.
- What does success look like? Without knowing what success looks like, how will your employees know how to achieve success and reach their goals?
Managers need to provide their employees with the support they need to be successful.
- You should set clear, actionable goals to set your employees up for success. They should understand what their milestones are and how they can get there.
- Allow the employee to assist in setting their own goals. I used to skip this step but it is incredibly important. You have hired someone who has a skillset and you need to leverage their expertise when setting goals.
- Check in regularly to assess progress and adjust as needed. You should make sure that your employees are on track and if they are not, get them the help they need to get back on track.
3 – Facilitate Communication
The third and last lesson that I learned as a first-time manager was the importance of facilitating communication.
- You need to connect people within your team
- But also avoid the silo effect by establishing relationships with other teams.
- Your employees also need to be introduced to key stakeholders so that they can begin to forge their own relationships.
Communication is all about sharing knowledge. Your employees will gain knowledge over time as they become comfortable in their roles. Losing this knowledge when people leave is very expensive.
- Sharing knowledge helps to avoid double work or re-work as people from different teams are working on similar goals.
- You should empower your employees to find the answers they need on their own. You can achieve this by ensuring the lines of communication are open between your team and others in your organization.
- Establishing an environment of collaboration will increase innovation on your team as each person’s opinions are shared.
Becoming a Manager – Courses on Pluralsight
You can learn more about becoming a manager in my Pluralsight course, Managing Technical Professionals. This course includes animated scenario-based training and you will watch as a management team uses best practices in conflict resolution as well as other skills to help you get your employees to perform at their highest potential. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills that you need to provide a positive and productive working environment as well as attract and retain top talent. Click the button below to get started with a free trial today!