Newly promoted managers not only encounter a new set of responsibilities but also an assortment of fears and doubts that can make the promotion feel exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. Every new manager faces them and must learn from them.
Here are some of those lessons shared by seasoned managers hoping to ease the burden on their newest colleagues:
Get to know your people
It’s always good to maintain a professional relationship with your workers, but you also need to get to know them. Find out where their interests lie, what hobbies they enjoy, and which personal goals they have set. You’ll make a stronger connection with them, and they, in turn, are more likely to perform better for you.
Don’t try to be their friend or counselor
Your job is to help them succeed, so you can’t be overly concerned about being liked. If you were promoted from the workforce, it might be hard to disconnect as a friend and set the proper new boundaries. If your former co-workers are struggling with personal problems that are affecting their performance, you should be able to refer them to human resources for help. But it is not your job to solve these issues.
Consistent expectations are important to employees. It’s a great way, along with being fair, to build trust and develop commitment and engagement in them. When you must deviate from the normal path, be sure to communicate why it was necessary for you to make an exception.
Set well-defined goals
At some point, you will need to evaluate your employees’ performances. Having clear goals in place can make this often-thankless job much easier. When goals are well-defined and specific, there is much less subjectivity in the process of assessing their performance and progress.
Include them in the goal-setting process
When you allow your team members to participate in setting goals, they get a complete understanding of the goal and also the rationale for setting it. Give them an option to be included in the process, while making it clear that not every goal is negotiable. Be clear about which objectives have some flexibility so as not to frustrate the participants.
You don’t need to have all the answers
New managers often feel a responsibility to have an answer each time a worker approaches them with a problem. Seasoned managers have learned that it’s better to help employees find the best solution and it doesn’t have to come from the manager. Eventually, your people will learn to approach you with a problem and a set of possible solutions for your approval.
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