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3 Tips for First Time Managers

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So, you got promoted to your first management job. Congrats! Most likely, it was a direct result of you achieving your goals in your last role. And now your responsibilities have increased, and it can be overwhelming for your metrics to be based on others, while also maintaining your own.

A recent study by the Ken Blanchard Companies with over 500 managers revealed only 15% received any training prior to switching into the role of manager, as a result, 49% felt unprepared to succeed. By the six-month mark, 63% of respondents felt less than effective in their new role, and at 12 months 50% still felt somewhat ineffective.

While, organizations do want to make sure first time managers get the help they need, you should not rely on what is given to you to be successful. (And clearly it is not working given the survey results).

You must be diligent about your own development – no one can possibly care about it more than you do. New people leaders, here are three things to keep in mind:

    1. Ask for help. It is tempting as a new manager to feel you need to prove yourself and to not engage with your team for help. Going inward is the worst thing you can do. Ask for help – everywhere. From your team members, from your leaders, from your neighbors and friends. Have a bias towards actions and solutions, and most people will want to help you. If you tend to be a perfectionist and are bad at this, choose an accountability partner to specifically ask you how you can ask for help. I know it sounds crazy, and your success could truly rely in this area.
    1. Do not assume. The moment you assume something, you shut down the ability to explore your team members and the circumstances around your business. Obey your instincts. If you sense that something is wrong, ask about it. Preface it by, “This might be completely off, but I am sensing…” Be willing to shift your perspective when someone says you are off. When you ask and really listen to team members, it demonstrates care and respect. Yes, that sounds like common sense, but sometimes that is truly missing.
    1. Be transparent. A problem often arises when someone gets promoted and starts to have access to more information. Some people want to keep it to themselves. This is not how you become successful. Do not keep information that can be shared to your team away from them. You can probably rationalize here, there, and everywhere. However, every time you make the choice to not disclose, you are decreasing the opportunity for connection and trust. That is a very big exchange to make – choose it wisely.

If you are a veteran manager, reach out to new managers and share your perspectives. Even if you have led people for years, it is always good to refresh yourself and practice what you know works best.

What other advice do you have for first time managers?


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