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5 Mistakes For New Managers To Avoid

I have spent years training “new” managers. Many of the folks were managers and just wanted to get some refresher training that would light the spark again. I usually started out the training with understanding who and why the trainees are in the session. Most of them were the ace-doer for their organization and taking on manager responsibilities was the next step up the ladder. The next largest group would be the “new” managers that are giving managing responsibilities a try a second time. I love those sessions!

Everyone starts out a rookie manager! One thing for sure, there will be mistakes made. When delivering my material – I like to ask about mistakes that they have seen or have had happen to them as a rookie manager. Below I have compiled the top 5 mistakes that were made that could really have a lasting effect on their teams.

  • Too Hands Off: This one usually comes from the folks that have had their rookie manager time. When you are promoted to manager – it normally comes with much more work! That work keeps you pretty busy and the rookie manager pretty much gets into the routine of letting the team handle things. As the leader, you better be spending time on defining goals, setting the vision and inspiring the team! Being visible and helping accomplishing the goals will go a long ways to overall team success.
  • Too Hands On: This one is the one that everyone jumps up to point out from “other” managers. It usually comes with the title of micro-manager. No one wants that label. It is hard at first, because being the ace-doer of the group – you can get the work done faster if you direct every aspect of the work or just do the work yourself. This comes with two definite problems. The team does not produce or grow as a team! Remember the role of manager has a lot more stuff that has to get accomplished by you. If you are doing your teams work – you are not doing your work! As the leader you have to lead the team!
  • Believe You Have All The Answers: You were the ace-doer or the subject matter expert for the team… It is why they promoted you. So, you have the be the answer man/women for everything that comes up within the team. Last time I checked, when you are the ace-doer – you did have teammates that helped you. Now that you are their manager – you still need them. The folks need to feel engaged and committed to the goals and how to accomplish them.
  • Act Like Friend Rather Than The Manager: Friendly is good! Being the manager comes with responsibilities that if you are too friendly with some of the team – you will make it hard for you to do those responsibilities like delivering a performance message for an under-performing friend. Or worst yet, you have to terminate a friend. Can you be able to do that? If not, the team will know this and some will take advantage of it.
  • Too Distant: With the new role of manager, it sometimes goes to a person’s head. Start to set up too much distance between themselves and their team. One trainee used the phrase, “it is lonely at the top.” I laughed, but I have seen it! I bet we all have seen it! As a new manager you have to balance between being a friend and being part of the management team.

There are some key take-aways…

  1. Make sure that if you are tagged to move from ace-doer to team manager – you get some training. The transition is important to help you, as the manager, be successful. The training will help your team, because you will be more aware of what to do and what not to do.
  2. Being the new manager, requires that you balance your time wisely. It is too easy to far into the traps of being too close or too distant with the team. I always make sure that when I am setting direction/goals – I include the team on that exercise. It helps to make sure that we all agree and have buy-in. This helps to make it happen!
  3. Friend/Manager is another balancing act. I always tell my trainee’s that they need to set up some distance. Go to the happy hour to make your presence and maybe have one drink, but after that – say thanks and good-bye to everyone. It does not mean that you end life-long friendships because you are now their manager, but it does mean having a discussion with them that their roles have changed. We have to be careful not to take advantage of that friendship – either way!

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