New managers are often promoted from within a team, and without having previous experience of being a manager. We’ve put together this list of five lessons for new managers, which we have found helpful.
1. Some people may not like it.
The people who were your peers may not be so friendly with you once you have been promoted above them. This is normal and OK. Do not compromise them by expecting your relationship to remain unchanged. They will quite understandably be concerned about confidences leaking into management ears. Respect that. Cultivate openness and understanding whilst recognising that your relationship will necessarily change.
2. It’s OK for new managers not to know all the answers.
When you first get promoted into a management role the temptation is often to try to answer ever question and do everything that comes your way. You aren’t expected to know everything, so ask for help, delegate what is appropriate and meanwhile learn everything you can about what those around you are doing. You don’t need to do it, but it’s good to know what is being done.
3. Set clear goals.
Be clear about your goals for yourself and for your team and then share them publicly. Make sure that your team buy into their own goals. The best way to ensure this is to get them to articulate their goals in their own words. Then test them for PACE:
- P are they Positively Stated, focusing on what you DO want, not want you don’t want.
- A Are they Achievement oriented – how will you know when you’ve achieved them? what will you see, hear and feel? What are the steps necessary to get there and are the steps in your own control?
- C What is the Context – where, when and with whom with the goal be achieved? Who or what is it dependent on? Who or what is dependent on you?
- E Is the goal Ecological – that is to say, will it have a beneficial effect both for you and for your environment? Is it consistent with your values, and with the values of your organisation?
4. Prepare yourself for difficult conversations.
Difficult conversations are bound to happen. You might need to talk to a member of staff who is under-performing. Or have conversation with a customer to let them know you won’t be able to fulfil a promise. It is better to prepare yourself for having these conversations than to let them fester.
Try using the three Es:
- Explain the problem
- Explore the problem
- Eliminate the problem.
Then you can be sure that the conversation focuses on results and ends with a positive commitment to action.
5. Ask great questions.
The more you ask, the more you will learn. Use “clean” questions that are not loaded with your own agenda but focus on exploring the reality of the situation, and the different interpretations that everyone else holds so that you can understand exactly where they are coming from. You know what they say, there’s no such thing as a stupid question except for the one that you don’t ask.
Let us know if this helps. Are there any particular areas you feel you or your management team need support with?
Madeleine Allen is a human leader in a corporate world. She delivers training in Soft Skills with Hard Benefits, enabling leaders to be compassionate AND profitable.