20 Proven Tips For First-Time Managers

Man reading about becoming a first-time manager

Becoming a manager for the first time is exciting. You’re being recognized for your hard work and moving up the corporate ladder. But being a first-time manager is also an overwhelming and scary experience.

Now, you have team members looking to you for the answers and you’re responsible for the success and failure of the group. To help ease the transition into your new position, the experts at Sling have created a list of 20 proven tips for all first-time managers.

Tips For First-Time Managers

1) Acknowledge That Relationships Have Changed

As a first-time manager, you’re likely to find yourself managing people who were once your peers. To prevent this from becoming a problem, meet with all your direct reports as soon as possible, set clear ground rules, and address the fact that the relationship has changed.

2) Start Saying “We” Instead Of “I”

It’s cliché, we know, but there is no “I” in “TEAM.” Technically, there’s no “We” either, but that simple shift in language has a profound effect on the cohesiveness, engagement, and success of your team.

3) Delegate

You can’t do it all, nor should you expect yourself to. Instead, focus on completing the project successfully. To do that, you’ll need to delegate a large portion of the work to your team members.

4) Find A Mentor

Don’t expect to have all the answers right away. Every first-time manager needs a mentor to help them resolve issues that aren’t addressed in the employee handbook.

5) Be Consistent

Inconsistency can undermine your leadership ability and erode the foundation on which your team operates. Take your time before making decisions. And once you’ve made the decision, stick to it unless there’s a problem.

6) Realize That Management Requires A Different Skillset

The skills that got you promoted are different than the skills you’ll need as a first-time manager. Instead of being an exceptional server, hostess, or barista, you now have to guide others in those same roles.

Seek out and embrace the new skills that will make you the best manager possible.

7) Focus On Goals Rather Than Details

As a manager, you’re the captain of the ship. It’s your job to ensure that your cargo and crew reach port. To that end, you need to focus on the ultimate goal — success — rather than what’s going on in the engine room, the cargo hold, or the galley.

Leave the details to your trusted team and all will be smooth sailing.

8) Keep Your Supervisor In The Loop

Don’t think that just because you’re a first-time manager, you don’t have to report to anyone. Keep your supervisor apprised of what and how your team is doing. That way you can be sure your strategies agree.

9) Act As The Example For Your Team

You are now the example that your team members follow. Act accordingly. Show up on time, be polite, and demonstrate the traits you want to see in your team members.

10) Avoid Micromanaging

Two first-time managers brainstorming on a whiteboard

Micromanaging your team’s day-to-day activities erodes their productivity, their skills, and the confidence they have in themselves. It also communicates that you don’t trust them to get the job done right.

11) Develop Your Own Management Style

Transitioning from team member to first-time manager is the perfect opportunity to develop your own management style. Find what works for you and your team, and build those skills into a successful leadership system.

12) Prioritize Employee Reviews

Holding regular employee reviews — at least once per year — is an excellent way to stay in communication with your team members and ensure their success. If there’s too much stress inherent in the idea of a “performance review,” try calling it a “check-in” or a “1-on-1.”

13) Guide Your Team Instead Of Telling Them

Too often, first-time managers (and even long-time managers) want to jump right in with the answer when there’s a problem. Instead, ask your team pointed questions to guide them to the best answer. This will help them develop their problem-solving skills.

14) Avoid Making Promises You Can’t Keep

Don’t be hasty to prove yourself a great leader by making promises you can’t keep. You may cause more problems than the ones you’re trying to solve and destroy the trust you’ve worked hard build.

15) Be Willing To Help, But Don’t Be The Hero

Remember, your job as a manager is to steer your team to success. Be willing to help with a difficult task, but don’t be the hero and take on too much of your team’s work.

16) Be Decisive

It’s easy to get stuck in decision paralysis and overthink a situation. Try to avoid this pitfall at all costs. Give the issue some serious thought, determine what solution feels best for you and your team, make the decision, and get back to work.

17) Jump Right In

Becoming an effective leader takes time, but don’t be afraid to jump right in and start making small changes. If you hold back for too long, your team may begin to question your authority.

18) Empower Your Direct Reports

If you want to build a strong team, empower your direct reports to make decisions and set their own goals. This will help them develop critical thinking skills and ownership for their career.

19) Align Your Strategy

Organizational strategy is vital for the success of your business. This type of strategy — composed of corporate, business, and functional levels — starts at the top and works its way down to the team members in the trenches. Make sure your strategy aligns with the strategies above it.

20) Don’t Neglect Your Health

Last, but certainly not least, take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. Take time to recharge your batteries every day so you can continue giving your all to your team.

Organization Is Essential For The First-Time Manager

Whether you’re scheduling your team members, monitoring the progress of a project, or gathering data for payroll, it’s vital to stay organized. Apps like Sling can help.

Sling scheduling app for first-time managers

Sling coordinates, simplifies, and streamlines all your time-management activities by giving you a suite of tools for:

And much more! Regardless of the industry, Sling can keep you and your team members organized and focused on the project at hand. That can help make your job as a first-time manager easier and less stressful.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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