Are you getting ready to step into a manager position for the first time? To help prepare you for this role, here are seven things you should do as a new manager. By performing these seven things, you will establish yourself as a credible leader while gaining the trust of your employees.
1. Introduce yourself and what skills you bring to the table.
First things first, you will want to introduce yourself to your employees. Think of your introduction as a short bio or a short story about yourself that conveys your skills, experiences and strengths. A good introduction allows you to quickly establish credibility with your new employees. In the introduction, showcase what skills you bring to the table and how your previous experiences have prepared you to take on this role.
2. Start building a strong reputation as a leader.
Since this is your first time being a manager, use this opportunity to start developing a good reputation as a leader. Building a strong reputation takes time and commitment, as it will be tested often. You will be tested by stressful deadlines, unsupportive bosses and employees who perform poorly. How you respond to each of these situations directly impacts your character. Consider the consequences of your words, reactions, and behavior, as these all shape your reputation as a new leader. At the end of each workday, reflect on both a positive and negative interaction you had. Give yourself a gold star for the positive one, then identify how you could have handled the negative one better.
3. Communicate your high standards right away.
Make a point to communicate your high standards right away. You will want these high standards to reflect your expectations of a positive and professional work environment. Be clear about what you require when it comes to being prepared for meetings, how the team should collaborate, and what kind of conduct will not be tolerated. Your employees will appreciate the fact that you have high standards and will expect you to hold everyone (including yourself) accountable to them.
4. Get to know your people.
Make genuine efforts to get to know your coworkers, as this will help you establish a rapport with them. A great way to do this is by holding one-on-one chats with each employee. This might seem like a big investment of your time, but it’s worth it. You will get to know what strengths they possess, what motivates them, and what challenges they may face. These valuable insights will prepare you for developing them professionally, recognizing them in meaningful ways and implementing effective changes.
5. Be accessible and engage often.
Being accessible means that you are available to your employees. This translates into keeping an eye on your calendar so that you are not in meetings all day, making it impossible for your employees to reach you. You should also be actively engaging with your workforce. Walk around and talk to them, reach out via email, or give them a call. Try setting up a daily reminder to connect with a different employee each day. Engaging often and making yourself accessible sends a strong message to your workforce that you are there for them.
6. Become familiar with the work.
Use your time as the new manager to get to know the work that is being done by your employees. Spend time shadowing and observing the day-to-day operations. This will directly impact your ability to drive the mission. Understanding the workloads and workflows will set you up for future success. You will be in a better position to advocate for resources your people need and identify process improvements.
7. Develop your own leadership philosophy.
As a new manager, now is a great time to develop your own leadership philosophy. Your leadership philosophy should be something that helps guide you as a manager. It can be a set of guidelines or a simple phrase. Examples include: “always assume noble intent,” “dreamwork is teamwork,” or “don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong.” Your leadership philosophy should keep you grounded, remind you how to behave in certain situations, and help point you in the right direction.
Confidently start your management journey off on the right foot by performing these seven things.
You may also be interested in Expert Advice: 10 Actions for Successfully Transitioning into a New Leadership Role and How to Rock Your New Leadership Role.
Tessie Davenport has served as a leader in the Department of Defense for the past ten years. Her breadth of experience includes creating successful teams, coaching, mentoring, and leading development programs. She has a B.A.S. in Information and Computer Security, a M.S. in Intelligence Management and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management. She hopes to inspire new leaders and experienced ones by offering practical ideas to help them build positive cultures and grow their people. Tessie is happily married with three dogs and a cat. She loves to travel, hike, kayak, and explore.