Not getting the direction you need in your new management role? This list, at a minimum, shows actions you want to stay away from. If you’re new to managing or know those who are, study, and share news of these mistakes with the included corrections. Management is not common sense and thus, while senior leaders may find these mistakes fairly elementary or said with a tone of sarcasm: fascinating… those new to the role of leading others, may view them as revolutionary, particularly if no one has told them anything to the contrary.
New Manager Mistake: Ignoring Role Clarity
I’ve recently spoken to no less than five management team members in different organizations who weren’t exactly sure what their job entailed. They knew their title and spent their day being very busy, but without any clarity. What exactly did their job description say? Did they have one or simply follow directions from senior leadership day after day? Those actions will keep the new manager employed but may soon land them in a position of being ignored because no one knows exactly what they do. Thus, the onus for clarifying your job and what all is included, is on you. If you’re a new manager, find out these three things before close of business this week: First, what are you measured on? Second, what is expected for you to regularly do? And third, what do you need to do to be labeled a star performer?
New Manager Mistake: Shortcutting Rapport
New managers launch head long into a role about which they usually know very little, thinking that all they have to do is tell the team what to do and things will go well. Hmmm… not so much, but it happens often and new managers then wonder why the employees they lead are not so fond of them. There is no shortcut to getting to know those you lead. If you expect to engage them, show an interest in them. If you expect to understand their motivations, find out what motivates them. That won’t happen in a week, but here are three questions you can ask THIS week that will keep you from shortcutting the rapport and relationships you very much need to succeed: First, what do they expect from you as their leader? Second, do they know what you expect from them? (and if not, tell them) And third, what is their ideal working style and assignment?
New Manager Mistake: Believing Bovine and Lenox belong in the Same Sentence
This was a fun one and my humorous way of saying if your behavior is unpredictable, you’ll soon be in trouble. New managers with little role clarity and limited intel on who they lead, can get frustrated in a hurry. That frustration can lead to volatility and natural expression of stress, but the problem comes in when one acts like a bull in a china shop one minute and an overly sensitive delicate place setting of Lenox china that next. They simply don’t belong i the same sentence. If you can avoid the juxtaposition of emotions for an entire week, that’s really best. Find ways to manage your stress and even out your emotions. Those who are erratic, power hungry or unable to tolerate a bit of displeasure from the ranks, will find it hard to develop trust and respect.
New Manager Mistake: Taking Things Personally
Let’s face it, people don’t like change. Employees who get a new boss will be far less excited about it than you will be about your new promotion. For better or worse, they’d rather have kept the old one. That, dear new manager, you cannot take personally. Nor can you take it to heart if each employee doesn’t think you’re the cat’s meow or that each idea you share borders on brilliant. This does not mean that a new manager must become a cold hearted, unfeeling leader, it simply means that you’re on a path to become their leader, not the team’s sole, always happy, cheerleader. Recognize that leadership is wrought with sometimes tough choices, good days and rough ones, celebrations and disciplines, and the ever present reality that few things remain the same from day to day. Take many behaviors in stride and realize that few complaints are usually about you, but more about the role you represent. This is also aided by setting a stage and foundation of strength from the beginning. Avoid this common mistake by sitting down with each team member in the beginning so you can begin to build rapport, develop a relationship, and establish your role as the collaborative captain of this figurative ship.
New Manager Mistake: Being Easily Fooled
New managers can get trapped if any and all of the above mistakes are enacted. If you, as a new manager, ignore your own role clarity, your boss could address your performance in ways you take personally. Pay attention to the pitfalls of new managers and get some guidance on a smooth transition. (Transition from Buddy to Boss happens to be one of our most popular webinars!) In addition, know that employees will test out a new manager much like kids test out the new babysitter, so pay attention. Don’t let them fool you into believing some story or scenario that just doesn’t sit well with you. Listen to what your instincts tell you, take immediate action to determine validity, and keep following that direction until your instincts tell you otherwise.
This is the type of guidance we all wish we’d had in our first management role and that would have help us more rapidly become a more well respected leader. If only we’d known the truth behind the glamour of getting promoted! It’s a feeling that can quickly be overshadowed by regret if these are the mistakes you or your new managers are making. Eager for the prestige of promotion, new managers, or those taking on a new role or those new to the role all together, often say yes and take on the job, only to secretly wish for an upcoming demotion. As one colleague shared recently, it can turn into a “I’m not sure I want to be a manager day” pretty quickly if you’re making these management mistakes. Avoid the ones that are particularly prickly and spend more of your time getting to know those you lead so together, you can all succeed!