9 Things a New Manager Should Focus on First

Aaron Vick - 9 Things a New Manager Should Focus on First

9 Effective Management Skills New Managers Should Learn

As a new manager, developing effective management skills is difficult. But focusing on these 9 things can make the transition easier.

If you’ve just become a manager for the first time then it’s important for you to learn how to work with your team.

With over $100 million lost due to poor project performance for every $1 billion invested in the US, a poorly managed team can have a real impact on your business.

It’s important, therefore, to think about the effective management skills that will help make you, and your team, succeed.

And we’re going to help because we’ve got 9 steps for you to consider to help you become the effective manager your team needs.

Get Your House in Order

If you’ve become a manager for a new team, it’s important to get your house in order as quickly as possible.That means getting to know your team, learning their names, understanding their personalities and their strengths and weaknesses.

It’s possible you’ve just been brought in as a replacement, which means your team might be working fine (although you can always make improvements.) Or you might have been brought in to fix things up.

Get a feel for your team, learn to work with them, and make sure they know how to work for you.

Establish Your Priorities and Expectations

Your team needs leadership from the start. It’s important to be clear about what you expect from them immediately.

Set goals and benchmarks for success. Do you have deadlines to meet? Make sure the team beat them.

Remember, too, to be open about how you expect your team to perform. If certain team members are slacking, be sure that they know that it won’t be tolerated in future.

Communication is key here. If your team know what you expect from them, they can’t argue if they fail to perform.

Set Your Standards High

There’s no point joining a new team and settling for the status quo. If you’ve been brought in to manage a team that isn’t performing well, then you need to be energetic about improving standards.

This isn’t just about work, it’s about attitude. Build goodwill with your team to go the extra mile on occasion, if it helps to get the job done.

Push your team and set ambitious standards for success, but remember that a manager with effective management skills doesn’t need to push their team too hard to get the job done.

Things Won’t Always Work

You can have all the ambitious plans in the world, but don’t expect them all to bear fruit. Even the best-laid plans will unravel at times, so don’t let that dishearten you if it happens.

You’ll always find that some teams won’t react to new management styles well all of the time. Whatever happens, don’t let failure be a setback, but rather a learning experience.

As a new manager, you’ll be learning on the job. Take failures on board and change tack when needed, just as you’d expect your team to do with your feedback.

Positivity over Negativity

Criticism can be a killer for productivity if it’s used poorly. A team is going to be wary of a new manager in their midst, and they’re going to be sensitive to negativity.

If you need to make changes to your team’s performance, go for positivity over negativity. Criticism isn’t always avoidable, but you don’t want your team members to feel like it’s personal.

Encourage changes or highlight areas for improvement with layers of positivity. Make sure your team knows the things that they do well, not only the things they do badly.

Get to Know Your Team and Show Them Respect

A survey of 500 employees in the US stated that 89% wanted a manager that was fair, with 84% wanting to be treated with respect.

You’re not going to win your team over by berating them and making them feel bad. If you don’t treat your team right, you’ll lose their respect and you’ll lose any goodwill to get them to work that extra mile on occasion.

It also means that you won’t be able to communicate with them effectively when you need to.

Decide on What Works and What Doesn’t

As a new manager, you’re going to need to decide very quickly on what is effective and what isn’t. Poor working practices or employees that aren’t suited to the tasks they have can make a team less productive overall.

Depending on the scope your company gives you, work with your team to change things that need to change.

Evaluating your team is one of the most critical effective management skills you’ll need to employ. Without it, you could end up making no progress at all.

Don’t Show off About Previous Successes

No one likes a show-off. Just because something worked at another company doesn’t mean it’d work somewhere else.

If you’re the manager who constantly says that X or Y was better at your last workplace, you’re not going to inspire your team. Indirect criticism like that is probably going to have the opposite effect.

Focus on your team today, not on the past. That doesn’t mean you can’t apply any effective management skills you might have learned elsewhere, however.

An Authoritarian Approach Will Weaken Your Authority

A new manager wants to make their mark, but it doesn’t mean you have to use the stick over the carrot.

New managers need to build relationships with their team. You’re unlikely to achieve that if you criticise too much or expect too much without being flexible or understanding to the needs and welfare of your team.

An empathic manager is going to be more successful than an authoritarian one. Keep your emotional intelligence in mind if you plan on being an effective leader for your team, as it’s one of the most important effective management skills you’ll need to have in place.

Build a Great Team with Effective Management Skills

It’s daunting taking on a leadership role within a team, especially if you’ve worked with them before. Don’t be put off, though.

Remember that as a manager, you’ll be key in driving your team to success. Failure to act on poor working practices, or going for the authoritarian approach is likely to reflect badly on you, though.

You’re bound to make the odd mistake, but don’t be timid. Remember these effective management skills and you’ll be able to shape your team into a successful business unit that you can be proud to lead.

Want to discuss management further? Get in touch today for a personal consultation on effective management.