Ten Top Tips: How to hit the ground running as a new manager

Want to survive your first management role? Here are some tried and tested tips from Elaine Wilson, managing consultant at ASK Europe.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

1. Work out what's expected of you

Schedule regular reviews with your boss, if you have one, and get as much feedback as possible. Defined expectations also provide clear criteria for self-assessment.

2. Ask each team member what they, as individuals, want from you as their manager

Take every chance to learn about them as individuals, and to gauge opinions and the general atmosphere: you are managing people as well as their work. Above all, listen more than talk: your ears will teach you more – especially about your own impact - than your mouth.

3. Make sure you delegate the right tasks to the right people

Take time to understand the individual strengths of your team and delegate where appropriate. This doesn't just mean giving creative projects to 'the designer'. Develop an understanding of the individual's preferences and working patterns so you can build effective relationships while ensuring the job gets done.

4. Grab the bull by the horns

Face difficult situations (like managing former peers) through open conversations about the situation: you may fear the worst unnecessarily. And ask what they (and perhaps you) liked or disliked about your predecessor. Understand enough history to avoid repeating it.

5. Look a year ahead

Create your personal vision for your team – and your leadership - for 12 months’ time. Explore how this fits with expectations and other organisational initiatives - how can you address areas of potential misalignment or conflict? Regularly review and prioritise your intended changes: are you making significant improvements, or simply a personal splash?

6. Make a detailed 90 day plan for letting go of your old role and adapting to the new one

Build in time and opportunities for your own development. Recognise that behavioural change takes longer than a shift in roles and responsibilities.

7. Find a mentor

A mentor – within or outside the organisation - who has already made this journey can be an objective adviser and sounding board for your ideas, thoughts and feelings.

8. Take a course, if one is available

Explore resources available in your organisation for new managers – e.g. development programmes or intranet-based materials. Are mentoring or coaching programmes available that might accelerate your progress?

9. Change your surroundings (ditch the clutter)

Make the change visible to yourself – e.g. make physical changes to your workstation to remind yourself that things are different and that you need to act differently.

10. Self-assess

Audit your preferences, skills, strengths and weaknesses against the requirements of the new role and plan to maximise and mitigate them. Make regular time to reflect on your progress and identify the next changes that you will make, so that the momentum of incremental progress is maintained.

Ultimately, remember that promotion is a positive opportunity as well as a challenge. To ensure it proves to be the former, address the latter with a personal plan and the willingness to make a few small adjustments to how you not just think but behave.

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