Tips for First Time Managers


by Kelly Sullivan

In light of this week (the third full week in August) being National Management Training Week, today’s blog is dedicated to sharing some must-know tips for new managers.

Lisa I. Perez, president of HBL Resources, Inc., founded National Management Training Week in 2020 with the intention of bringing awareness to how effective management training and leadership are a workplace necessity. She’s made it her mission to provide all the elements for successful career advancement or fundamental HR compliance strategies for every business environment.

From a business perspective, management training just makes sense. By growing and developing the talent you already have you save on hiring costs, which we all know can be huge.

You also increase the loyalty, engagement and satisfaction of your team by providing them with the tools they need to grow and move up within your organization.

So, what are some of the things we think first time managers should know? Let’s dive in!

Excellent managers know how to communicate.  

Communication is a driving force behind nearly everything people do whether you realize it or not. Being able to communicate effectively is an imperative trait in a manager. Always set clear expectations for your employees, practice transparency, and establish guidelines for both giving and receiving feedback. 

As a manager, nurturing an inclusive and open company culture where everyone feels like they can voice their concerns, opinions and ideas should be at the top of your priorities. Lead by example, and encourage authenticity amongst your team. 

If something comes up in a meeting that you don’t know, don’t be afraid to admit it. Great leaders have a strong personal awareness for strengths as well as weaknesses, and communicate how they are working to improve challenges.

Show your employees that you appreciate their work.

People like working hard when they know it’s going towards a meaningful goal. As someone in a management position, it is your responsibility to make sure that our staff’s hard work is paid attention to.

An easy way to make a note of company progress is to email staff letting them know where the company has been, and where it’s going next. If certain employees played an important role in reaching recent company milestones or goals, give them a shoutout!

Even if there are no major successes recently, be sure to thank your employees for their time and effort – this will help your team stay encouraged even during down times. Find ways to say thank you that are meaningful to your team, and come from a genuine place.

Don’t expect to know all of the answers.

Becoming a new manager can definitely feel intimidating at times. You’re going to get a lot more questions than you probably did before, and it might feel like you have way more questions than answers.

Trying too hard to remember every single detail and answer can cloud your mind and add another layer of stress to your day-to-day routine. Remember that all of the questions you don’t currently know the answers to will become second nature. Your team will respect you just as much for finding an answer to their question as they will if you already knew it.

Manage relationship shifts.

If you’ve been promoted from within, the power shift with your team can be a little uncomfortable, especially if you’ve formed close relationships with certain coworkers and not others over the years.

It is vitally important to remember that you need to treat all members of your team as equals. Whether they’re your friend or not, there is always a possibility that someone feels that they should have been promoted instead.

True leadership means facing any discomfort or awkwardness head on, so as to find a real long term solution. Make it clear that you value your team, but that your work relationship has to change so that you can be fair to the team as a whole.

Learn to do more with less.

First-time managers are often expected to manage their new, heavier workload with more limitations than before, including budgeting and staffing issues. An important skill to embody is the ability to perform well, regardless of any constraints.

Many often struggle with a shift in identity as they transition from an individual employee who shows up, to a leader of the company, others and their work. This is challenging, but when an organization focuses on training leaders and not just bosses, they’re better able to provide the support that those new managers need.

Companies that promote from within, provide education and training to their employees, and nurture solid leadership skills throughout the organization are seeing much happier, healthier workplace environments. Happy National Management Training Week!

Want more from Outgrow Your Garage?

-Check out our Leadership and Management Recommended Reading List for books on developing your own leadership skills. Many of these are also available at your local library. 

-Support, connections and resources are invaluable tools for entrepreneurs. Small business owners from a variety of industries come together twice a week for Co-Working & Office Hours to work on their businesses, share insights, and troubleshoot issues. Running a business can feel isolating. You don’t have to do it alone!

-Business education should be easily accessible for everyone at an affordable price. We want you and your small business to succeed. No matter what area of your business you need help in, we offer a variety of business course topics that teach you how to turn your every day tasks into organized systems.

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