So, You're a Manager Now? Tips to Being an Effective One

Carly Naaktgeboren
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After putting in the effort and hard work, you’ve been promoted to manager. Congratulations! You should be incredibly proud of this accomplishment.  Amid all the excitement, you might also be feeling some nerves. You’ve taken on a lot more responsibility and people will be both turning to you for advice and watching you like a hawk to see what you’ve got.  Here are five tips to help you be an effective boss and make sure what is said about you at the water cooler skews positive.

  1. Implement small changes that will make work life more enjoyable and increase productivity.  Don’t come in and alter everything, as transition takes time and can be frustrating for employees.  Look at the little things that can be done that employees will benefit from, thus increasing their respect and overall work ethic for you.  Are there common complaints that you see a solution for?  Do it.  Maybe they didn’t feel heard before and this is your chance to build a solid foundation with them.  Maybe you were one of them before your promotion. Think of things that frustrated you and try to seek ways to fix them. Another great way to find out how employees feel is to hold a meeting and get some feedback - you can even leave the room and assign one person to gather information and talk to you about it. People will be more forthcoming if it’s anonymous. This can give you an excellent idea of what employees are looking for in a manager
  2. Rather than come in with a reign of terror, come in with realistic expectations.  Ruling with fear breeds resentment rather than respect and can actually cause people to work less diligently for you. When assigning tasks or doling out instruction, be realistic about the outcome.  Is this deadline far too short? Will this workload mean someone will be stuck working seventy hours next week? Maybe that’s not the best way to start out. Empathy and positive reinforcement can go a long way.
  3. Take stock of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.  Everyone has mixtures of both and hopefully one person’s strength can make up for someone else’s weakness. Then you can plan accordingly to make sure everyone is productive and doing their equal share, while possibly doing more of what they enjoy.  If an employee is having a difficult time, work with them on their professional development.  You never know what one or two helpful conversations can do.
  4. Implement your own management system, but avoid micromanaging.  Try to think of a system that will work for everyone without you having to hover around and tell people what to do all the time. Ask yourself what is necessary and what is over the top.  You should have the people skills as a manager to figure out if you’re being helpful or just telling someone something they already know and thus, wasting both of your time.
  5. Remember that respect is earned, not automatically given.  You might have to prove yourself a bit for people to put their faith in you and that’s okay.  You also need to remember that you’re a human and you’re learning as well.  You will make mistakes and you will learn from them. You’ve earned your position for a reason; someone saw leadership in you.  You’ve got this.

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  • Lonnie Winbush
    Lonnie Winbush

    I like it, management is no easy task. I learned long ago when I was put in my first trusted position in the Marine Corps. I got more work production from my subordinates by working for them when they need assistance. I continued managing that way throughout my military career. Successful? yes, but learned as I continued to manage.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Craig C thanks for your awesome comment! Yes, KPIs are very important when it comes to managing your personnel. Good way to tell if they are performing as they should.

  • Craig C.
    Craig C.

    Most people can manage themselves when given proper KPI's on a regular basis to monitor their work. So, your job as a manager is to first get reports in front of peoples faces in proactive fashion. Have on-demand and daily reports employees can look at. Get with IT / IS, or internal analyst attached to your department to automate that. Next is that management is mostly responsible in managing the processes and procedures employees use. If work is bad, look at the process employees use, don't just tell employees to "work harder". Management owns processes; employees can only do so much. If you improve a process everyone uses, then employees have no choice but to do better work. Also, assess the Quality of Life of processes. Some processes get the job done, but create misery for employees. Find ways to offload repetetive activities to automation. Humans are good at making decisions; bad at repetition. Find ways to automate the repetition, so you're leveraging your employees in more of a decision-making capacity. Next, you're there to fight for your employees. Find obstacles, and move them out of the way. There are usually things creating frustration for employees. They complain. Don't call them "whiners" and tell them to "deal with it". That poisons them against you. Figure out what's bothering them and address it. People complain when they think things can be fixed. If people stop complaining, but you haven't fixed anything, then get ready for turn-over as folks jump ship. If you give folks KPI's and reports to manage themselves, it frees you up to manage the processes they use, manage the people that can automate it all, and manage the obstacles that can get in the way.

  • Joseph G.
    Joseph G.

    This is very helpful information, considering with an open mind ,and plan to use this input, Its not about me. It's about my fellow co workers, And company goals.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Amy Weimann thanks for your comment! So very true. So many new managers do try to bulldoze their way in and it's usually disaster. It is better to ease your way in. To get to know your employees as well as what they do and how they do it. I have found that just taking a step back and observing the goings on for a few days gives me enough information that I can start slowing meshing with the team and start getting things done.

  • Amy Weimann
    Amy Weimann

    It is imperative, when entering an existing work force, to not go overboard with wanting to be everyone's friend. You're their manager, not their best friend. Getting to know your team's interests and getting to know them on a more personal level can be achieved with 1:1 meetings or catering a team lunch meeting. This can be frustrating for a new manager; easing your way in to becoming your team's manager is much less invasive than trying to bulldoze your way in.

  • Vicki R.
    Vicki R.

    Very good advise, and very helpful.

  • Oluwabukola  E.
    Oluwabukola E.

    Very helpful tips.

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