first-time-managers

Top Tips for First-Time Managers to Thrive at Work – Guest Post by Alicia Honeycutt

Did you get promoted? Congratulations! All your hard work and great work ethic have paid off. This promotion is more than just about yourself now. Being a manager is about handling not just the work, but also people.

An excellent people manager gets the best out of their team members. You need to prioritize, delegate and coordinate tasks within your team. And do it in the most effective way. Being a first-time manager doesn’t discount you from your own deliverables. You need to complete your work while you make sure your people complete theirs too.

Not everybody is naturally talented to manage people right off the bat. First-time managers may not have the right people skills needed to play the part. At least, not at first. So here are top tips to help you sail through this promotion and thrive at work!

Get Acquainted With Your Team

This is a top tip that helps you understand your employees. Get to know them so you can maneuver your strategy around their personalities. A democratic leader would do that. But an autocratic leader would self-impose. Not everybody likes to work with autocratic leaders.

  • Have one-on-one sessions as often as you have the time.
  • Take them out for lunch once a month.
  • Hold group meetings and study the discussion.

So if you want your team to thrive, get to know them. They will be more productive with the tailored attention.

Mentor Your Team Members

Take pride because that your team members have the potential to thrive. Jump on every opportunity and mentor your team. Team members are likely to respond better to your leadership if they know you care about their progress too. You can mentor your team in many ways.

  • You could sponsor a training.
  • You could collaborate with a member on a project.
  • You could coach your team members.

Mentoring is hands-on learning for both you and the member. While mentoring, you work hard on expanding your knowledge. After all, you need to know what you’re dealing with, right? This improves your skills while your protege benefits with the relationship. You earn a lot of respect. Mentoring will increase your credibility in the work community.

Motivate Your People

People leave bosses, not companies. You don’t want a demotivated employee in the team. You also don’t want people leaving you for your poor leadership and management skills. It takes a lot more energy, time and effort to manage demotivated employees. They are not as productive. And so, be a first-time manager that motivates.

  • Share the passion with your team.
  • Share the goals and the mission.
  • Recognize and appreciate.

Create a list of what you can do to motivate your team. Look over what you’ve come up with and tailor it to your team’s personality and what works best for them.

Delegate Tasks

We know this is your first time multitasking people and your work. You want to do your best to make sure that everybody can see the tasks are getting done. That does not mean you take it upon yourself to do everything. You need to delegate work when you become a manager. Communicate well:

  • What needs to be done
  • How you expect the quality to be
  • How to approach the task
  • The goal behind doing the task

If you don’t have the time to create a guide or any document, you can always delegate it. Check with professional writing services. You are now a facilitator. You help others succeed by delegating work to them. Not by doing everything yourself.

Track Progress

So you’ve delegated tasks. Your job is not done yet! You now need to drive accountability. Be sure to check in to make sure the task is going well. Be open for questions if any task is particularly challenging or is hard to do. Some managers are afraid to check. Yes, it’s annoying to micromanage and work under someone who does. So don’t do that.  Do this instead:

  • Ask for a weekly report. Nothing complicated or it may take more time. A simple one should work.
  • Talk about issues that impede the task progress.
  • File accomplishments and progress for a performance review later.

Communicate Effectively

Your team needs to know and understand what you expect from them. Communicate your goals, but in a way that your team understands it. You can list about three goals you want to see achieved at the end of the year (or any timeline). For example, lower attrition rates than the year before can be one goal. So everything your team does in the year aligns to this goal.

You can reinforce these goals while your have your one to one sessions or group meetings. Meetings without an agenda can drag on and waste everybody’s time. You need to run effective team meetings too.

Give Constructive Feedback

Who isn’t open to positive and constructive feedback? Everyone loves to know what their strengths are. So as a first-time manager, when you see an opportunity of learning for your team member, use it. Don’t just talk about the negatives. Discuss the ways to correct them, but also reinforce the strengths by talking about it.

Don’t use email

… to communicate goals or check progress. When in doubt, pick up the phone or call a quick standup meeting to keep track of progress. Sending a negative feedback on email is a big deal to people who receive them. Be sure to keep it as a last resort.

Measure Outcomes

The feedback is important. Focus on the task, rather than the person. So when your team member comes to you with a completed job, assess it objectively. Discuss the task, based on facts. You need to communicate the degree of improvement required.

Ask Questions

Delegating, tracking progress, giving constructive feedback, all this can be overwhelming. So ask questions. Check with your reporting manager for any doubt you may have about company policy. Get to know your seniors who have been in the system much longer than you may have. Use their insights and experience to move around the ocean of responsibilities as a new manager.

Be Proactive

Now that you are a new manager, you can take initiative. Once you’ve defined your goals, you can design the way forward too. Make a plan and be proactive in your approach. For example, if you are a social media manager, you design the marketing campaign. Then let your team members take it forward. Delegate the tasks, but you define the plan.

Now that you have a team to delegate to, work you may have more time on your hands. Use this time wisely to look for and recognize any gaps or loopholes in the system. You may fail at being proactive at some point.

Stay Engaged, Stay Excited

Being a manager is no honeymoon. There comes a time when it can all get overwhelming and stressful. That’s when you need to stay engaged and stay excited about coming to work and thriving each day.

  • Attend conferences
  • Read more about your industry
  • Stay updated on trends

Doing these things will help you bring in fresh ideas. You can then take the initiative to test out new systems and ideas. This is a great way to push yourself and bring your team ahead with you as well.

Take it Easy

The corporate drama can get serious. Don’t be that manager who is always frowning. It’s important that you keep your sense of humor. Laugh with your team members, take it easy sometimes. You don’t have to be hard manager that people fear. You can be that manager who cracks jokes and makes everyone comfortable around you.

Remember all work and no play? Yes, don’t let that happen to you.

alicia_honeycuttAuthor: Alicia Honeycutt. Devoting her life to marketing, Alice is also fond of traveling and writing short stories for kids. Join her on Facebook

About Celoxis:
Celoxis is a comprehensive project management tool that helps companies streamline management of projects, timesheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization. Over the last decade, Celoxis has specialized in delivering improved collaboration and increased efficiency for teams of all sizes, both in SMB and Enterprise segments. To know more visit www.celoxis.com

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