FIRST FOCUS for First Time Managers

Becoming a First Time Manager can be one of the most challenging and overwhelming career transitions.  As many studies will tell you, an effective on-boarding program substantially increases the success of someone joining a new company.

77% of new hires who hit their first performance milestone had formal on-boarding training.

Organizations with a standard on-boarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity

Yet, not every company has a formal on-boarding program for new employees let alone provide guidance for First Time Managers on how to transition into their new role.  However, First Time Managers, focusing on the following six steps will help to accelerate their transition, set themselves up for success and realize their full potential.

Meet with Your Boss

Set up a time to meet with your boss and make sure you are very clear on your new role and what the expectations of successful performance are.  In addition, get to know your boss and their work preferences.  How do they like to communicate?  Do they like weekly or more regular updates?  In writing or in person? How much decision-making authority do you have and what does your boss like to have run past them?  Understanding how they like to work and what you can do to make them successful will help to build a good relationship and one where both find ease in working together.

Address Relationship Shifts

In many instances, First Time Managers are promoted from within. They may also train and manage alongside individuals who used to be their peers.  This can sometimes create strained relationships and misunderstandings.  It is important to acknowledge the shift in relationship immediately.  This may not be an easy conversation but an important one.  Be transparent and talk about it.  Your former peers may also be feeling awkward.   If some individuals have become your friends, it does not mean the friendship has to end.  Let them know that you value their friendship, however the ground rules at work have changed.

Listen and Learn

As a First Time Manager, you will be excited about your role and have a number of ideas of how to contribute.  Resist those desires to make any immediate changes.  Observe, listen and learn.  Be a student of your industry.  Meet with your direct reports and ask for their ideas to improve, what they like and the challenges they are having.  You may discover you have more to learn to be successful in your new role.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will gain more respect when you say you don’t now rather than trying to fake it.

Be A Role Model

As a First Time Manager, all eyes are upon you; those of your employees and other in the organization.  People will watch how you handle things and look to you for guidance. Be sure you are demonstrating the behavior you expect from your team.  Be on time, meet your deadlines, be consistent, be aware of your emotions and how you react to others, do your best work, keep your promises and be respectful of all.

Build Partnerships

Collaboration is one of the more critical skills needed in today’s workplace. Invest your time in building partnerships with your peers and other departments.  Take an interest in their lives. Learn their preferences at work.  Be proactive and offer to help – particularly in areas they are most challenged. Focus on win-win and results. Keep those egos in check. Don’t forget to celebrate successes.

Create a Plan

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” ~ Alan Lakein.   What do you want to accomplish?  Utilize your understanding of expectations and what you have learned from your team to create a plan for success.  Involve members of your team to help set goals, map out action steps and communicate, communicate, communicate.

We offer “Essentials for Emerging Leaders”;  a workshop for First Time Managers to accelerate their transition and set them up for success.  For more details visit “Essentials for Emerging Leaders”.


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