Being promoted to manager status is a significant career change that involves many additional tasks. Your success now depends more on team results than individual results.
As a first-time manager, it is important to focus on building strong relationships with team members and establishing very clear communication channels. Additionally, setting realistic goals and providing real-time feedback will help ensure team success.
It is a trap to want to be liked before being recognized as a leader who supports the performance and development of team members.
All first-time managers are concerned with how others see them. Sometimes the desire for acceptance is dominant.
Being the "new boss" could put more pressure on the novice in management to assert himself quickly or to be unduly "hands-on" while excessively pressuring others to achieve.
Of course, it takes time, patience, and practice to adapt to your new role and become a real manager. There are, however, more effective and better ways to encourage others to do their best.
1. Build a feedback culture
Establishing regular meetings with each team member ensures open and honest communication. During these meetings, it's helpful to discuss any challenges they face, what they need to do their best work, and how to improve your approach so they all work very well together.
Asking questions to guide conversations, such as clarity of expected outcomes, appropriate time allocation, communication style, and what needs to be done to overcome obstacles is an effective approach.
2. Trust is given, not earned
As a first-time manager, it is good to see trust as a two-way street. It is important that you trust your team members to achieve their goals, and that they trust you to come to you when they need help.
You also need to give people the freedom to have opinions that differ from yours and build an environment where all team members feel safe to speak their mind, experiment, fail, learn from mistakes and grow. It all boils down to trust!
3. Create team rituals to build trust
Once appointed to the role of manager for the first time, you may have to build trust and camaraderie within a team you've never met in person, especially in the virtual world of remote work. Here are some ideas you can implement to develop an open and trusting culture:
a. The " kicks-off week meme" is an online team meeting moment for everyone to show a picture or short video of the weekend's relaxing activities.
b. "The values that guide us" is an online discussion about the actions of the team that respect (or not) the essential values of the company.
c. "The rose and the thorn" is a weekly meeting where each team member shares one positive and one negative thing that happened to them in the last week.
4. Eliminate blame culture
Blaming others for problems can diminish your level of accountability and turn your colleagues into passive victims. That is why it is very important to have a systematic approach to solve any type of problem.
If one team member accidentally deletes a report template, encourage everyone on your team to think about what caused the problem. If there are no safety protocols in place to protect files in such situations, a simple solution might be to create a folder to store copies of all templates.
As a manager, be the one to promote and lead by example in openly discussing how a mistake can be prevented to build trust in the team, not fear or contempt.
5. It is okay to ask for help
Did you know that 65% of first-time managers say they feel insecure or anxious about transitioning into their new role? That's why it's essential to ask for help and trust your colleagues, instead of ending up feeling exhausted or hopeless.
To cope with the demands of the new role, you can also ask experienced mentors or managers whom you trust. Talk openly and get the help you need before you reach a dead end or burnout.
Showing that you're willing to ask for and accept help shows not only that you trust your coworkers, but that they can do the same, paving the way for a productive and rewarding work environment.
It is important for early stage managers to focus on building a strong team, delegating tasks effectively, and guiding the team when needed. By doing so, I can create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to do their best to achieve the company's goals and mission.
About Constantin Magdalina
Constantin Magdalina has 15 years of professional experience, during which he worked for multinational companies, both in the country and abroad. Constantin has a Master's degree in Marketing and Communication at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. He is LeanSix Sigma and ITIL (IT Information Library®) certified, which facilitates a good understanding of processes and transformations within organizations. The certification obtained from the Chartered Institute of Marketing completes his business expertise. He initiated and coordinated studies about the business environment in Romania. He participates in numerous business conferences and writes on topics related to innovation, streamlining business processes, social media, digital transformation, emerging trends and technologies.