Whether you're a seasoned professional or a new manager just starting out, it's important to have a plan for success. As a new manager, you're responsible for achieving objectives and setting the tone for your department or company. You also play a vital role in developing your team members and helping them reach their potential.
The first few weeks and months in a new management role can be overwhelming. But with proper preparation, you can hit the ground running and set yourself up for success.
To help you get started, we've put together a New Manager Checklist to make a smooth transition into your new role.
How Human Resources Can Help New Managers
Human Resources staff can help new managers in various ways, from providing training and development resources to offering advice on policies and procedures. They can also be a great sounding board for ideas and a source of support when challenges arise.
If you're not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions for how Human Resources staff can help new managers:
New managers will need to build key relationships beyond their direct reports. HR teams can take thoughtful steps to connect their new managers to other individuals (such as leaders in other departments) who they might need to work with down the line. Ideally, HR should be making connections with the idea of “relationship building” in mind.
Offer Advice and Guidance
HR teams should be available to offer new managers advice and guidance on topics like employee relations, performance management, and compliance. They can help new managers navigate difficult conversations, understand company policies, and resolve conflict
Establish a Mentorship System
Most everyone in your organization can benefit from having a mentor – mentorship isn’t just for individual contributors. When new managers can talk through their ideas, challenges, and questions with a management mentor, they’ll be able to find the support they need to succeed.
Give Them Resources That Nurture Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for workplace success and a key component of excellent leadership. Support your new managers with resources that help them become aware of and boost their emotional intelligence.
Introduction to Direct Reports
On every new manager's checklist, an introduction to direct reports will be high on the to-do list. The purpose of these introductions is to create initial connections, get buy-in from the team, and understand the team culture.
New managers should have team introductions to meet everyone as a group. But they should also take advantage of one-on-one introductions, if possible. While this may not be feasible in very large organizations, new managers who get to meet their direct reports individually can foster more authentic relationships with them. This gives them a chance to really get to know the person and understand their strengths, weaknesses and career goals. It also helps managers to build trust with their team members, which is essential for effective teamwork.
By taking the time to introduce themselves to their team members, managers can show that they are invested in their success and create a foundation for a strong working relationship.
Tips on Becoming a First-Time Manager
Joining the management team is a fulfilling and exciting experience. You've been recognized for your hard work and have earned the opportunity to lead a team. But being a manager also comes with new challenges.
You'll learn to juggle multiple tasks, prioritize effectively and make tough decisions. One of the most important things you can do as a new manager is to start on the right foot.
Here are tips that every first-time manager should keep in mind.
Find Value in Soft Skills
Excelling as a first-time manager isn’t only about becoming masterful in technical skills. Soft skills such as open communication, empathy, active listening, and emotional intelligence (mentioned above) can go a long way in management. In fact, 97% of employers believe that soft skills are either as or more important than hard skills
Find a Mentor
A mentor can be a valuable asset for new managers. A mentor is someone with more experience who can provide guidance, advice and support.
If you don't have a mentor at your organization, there are many ways to find one. You could reach out to a manager at another company, connect with someone through a professional association, or even ask a family member or friend. Having someone else in management to turn to can help with innovation, give you a forum for advanced discussions, and ultimately ensure you have the support you need. All employees can benefit from mentorship, and new managers are no different.
Find Balance With Your Schedule
One of the most difficult challenges of entering a new management role is finding the balance between being responsive to your team and getting your work done. On one hand, you want to be available to answer questions and give feedback. On the other hand, you don't want to spend all day managing email and messages.
Blocking off time in your calendar is a great way to let your team know when you're available. This can help to prevent overlap and ensure that everyone is on the same page. You can also moderate which calendar invites you accept, so you don't get overwhelmed with requests. And, finally, you can create a healthy forum for your team to ask questions and share information. This will help to keep the lines of communication open and allow everyone to get the answers they need.
Prioritize Calendar Invites
As a new manager, it's important to prioritize your calendar invites. This will help you stay on top of your schedule and ensure that you're able to attend the most important meetings and events. When prioritizing your calendar invites, consider the following:
- The importance of the event or meeting. Is it a mandatory meeting that you need to attend? Or is it an optional meeting that you can skip?
- The amount of time required. How long will the event or meeting last? Will you be able to complete other tasks during this time?
- The people involved. Who will be attending the meeting or event? Do you need to be there, or would someone else on your team be a better fit?
By considering these factors, you'll be able to prioritize your calendar invites and make sure that you're able to attend the most important events and meetings.
Slow and steady wins the new manager race. As someone who is brand new to management, you will have a lot on your plate. From formal onboarding to getting the hang of ongoing projects, it might feel like you have an overwhelming amount to accomplish. Take some time to assess what you need to do in order to be successful. Make a list of your top priorities and focus on tackling one thing at a time. It’s also important to delegate when possible.
One of the most important things new managers can do is delegate and trust their team. Part of this process is understanding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can best utilize their skills.
Build a foundation of trust with your team. Trust that they will complete their tasks, and they will trust you as a leader. Part of being an excellent manager is knowing how to delegate and oversee your team as they handle responsibilities.
What Should a First-Time Manager Not Do?
Your new manager checklist should also include what not to do. So, what things should new managers avoid?
Make Decisions in a Vacuum
Strive to make decisions that are as informed as possible. When making decisions, involve your team in the discussion and solicit their feedback. Not only will this help build trust and buy-in from your team, but it will also ensure that everyone is on the same page.
The better your communication is with your direct reports, the smoother your operations will be. Ensure that you’re practicing open communication and that your team feels like they can approach you with any questions or concerns.
Neglect to Ask For Help
Becoming a new manager can be overwhelming. If you start to feel like there’s something you don’t understand, don’t just continue onward. Know when to reach out to someone (like another manager or HR) to ask for clarification. The earlier and more often you do this, the more clarity you’ll have.
Forget to Follow Through
After a meeting or big decision, everyone might feel excited and energized about what’s to come. But a lack of follow-through in the workplace can be a huge momentum-killer. As a new manager, make sure you’re following through and demonstrating your commitment to decisions and initiatives.
New Manager Checklists Are Important
A new manager checklist can help you take your first steps into management with ease and confidence. By having a plan and knowing what to do (and what not to do), you can set yourself up for success. Following a comprehensive new manager checklist is an excellent way for new leaders to build a rock-solid foundation for their budding new management career.
Did you know that RallyBright helps managers of all experience levels build high-performing teams? Schedule a demo to learn how we can help your team and organization.