Moving to a management position for the first time can be quite a culture shock. There are two crucial aspects to modern management positions. One is becoming familiar with relevant labor laws. The other is becoming familiar with the human side of managing people.
Learning about labor laws
Although this aspect of being a manager can seem intimidating, most companies will give all possible support to new managers while they become familiar with it. Often companies will send new managers to classroom-based courses, so that they have every opportunity to explore labor laws fully and ask any questions they may have. This will typically be supported with written material, such as handouts and textbooks (or recommended reading) and the most crucial points may be reiterated using display materials such as posters in the workplace. For new managers, it may even be worth continuing the key lessons at home. If you want to do this, you can get get your poster here.
Of course, while it’s important to manage within the law, it’s just as important to manage the people. Here are some key points, which will help any new manager to be a good boss.
This is probably the single most important piece of advice to any new manager. It’s important to appreciate that even the most experienced managers had to start somewhere. They learned through study and practice. Getting hired for a management position is a vote of confidence in a person’s abilities. New managers need to be ready to believe in themselves, as this is an absolute prerequisite to gaining the confidence and trust of their employees.
Be ready to listen
Most people will tell their managers what they need to be productive in their job. Some people will do this openly and willingly, even if they doubt that the manager actually cares (or even listens). Some people need a bit more encouragement to talk openly about their feelings and opinions. Make the time to ask these quieter people how they feel. It’s important to keep open channels of communication within a team, but new managers often need to learn to strike an effective balance has to be struck between being available and focusing on their various other tasks.
Be prepared to say no
Most people prefer to say yes than to say no and this usually applies to managers (particularly new ones) as much as to everybody else. Unfortunately there are going to be times when a new manager has to say no, whether they want to or not. The key point is to be firm but reasonable. There are courses available to help new managers to deal with difficult conversations, such as refusing requests, or giving negative performance reviews. These are valuable learning forums, which offer the opportunity to practice handling difficult situations in a safe and constructive environment.
Be prepared to delegate
Just because a job title includes the word “manger”, it doesn’t mean that the holder is the only person who can manage situations. That person was probably offered the position because they had shown their ability in tasks which were delegated to them by their manager. Delegating tasks appropriately to other people in a team is not shirking; it’s making best use of resources. It’s also offering other staff an opportunity to develop and perhaps become managers someday themselves.
Look for a mentor
Just as grandparents can be an invaluable resource for new parents, so experienced managers can be a huge help to their new counterparts. Many companies run mentoring schemes and if not, it may be worth making the suggestion to start one. Even if it’s not possible to run one within the company, it may be possible to have informal mentoring online or through local business forums. There are also experienced managers who offer their services as professional mentors.
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