Kingston Smith
+44 (0)20 7566 4000

Navigating the Waters as a First Time Manager

If you are new to the experience of managing others, it can be a daunting prospect. Managerial roles are about more than just keeping a department or a project together. You are now responsible for one or more employees, who are all complex and individual workers and have different needs working styles. It’s not unusual for first-time managers to feel overwhelmed when faced with so much responsibility. Striking the right balance when it comes to the relationship between you and your team is a fine art that can be achieved with practice. If you’re new to a managerial position, here are some tips that can make the transition easier for you.

Discuss the role with your boss

Your new position puts you in charge of some people and under the charge of another. You need to learn as much as you can about what is expected of you and the department as a whole. Your new boss will be able to teach you everything you need to know so that the changeover goes smoothly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek guidance.

Discuss the role with your staff

Communication is vital in all aspects of management and a channel needs to be opened up with your new staff as well as your new boss. It’s important to acknowledge the adjustment period and maintain an open dialogue with your employees about what they need from you and what you need from them so that all expectations are met.

Get to know people

It’s easier to work with new people if you get to know them and vice versa. Initially, staff meetings can help with this as can one-on-one performance reviews and a variety of other meeting styles that give you face-to-face time with your team. You’ll learn a lot about people’s strengths and weaknesses and how to collaborate most effectively with those around you.

Don’t be afraid to adapt

One classic mistake that new managers make is relying on their old work routine when it doesn’t fit into a new culture. Learn all you can about the department and the people working there and adjust your style accordingly. Harmonise with your colleagues and positive results will follow.

Don’t abuse your newfound power

Some freshly cut managers are not used to the power they receive with their new role. If you enjoy ordering people around too much and abuse your power, employees will be regularly distracted and not able to focus on their work while becoming stressed and unproductive. Micro-managing is rarely helpful and it will make for an awkward environment.

Most of the advice you receive when you become a managers boils down to communication. You need to remain open to learning and adapting and the best way to do this is by listening. Use the experience of your own boss to guide you while you learn what it is to manage others. And use the knowledge and relationships of those you’re responsible for to create a productive and easily manageable team.

Tweet us at @kingstonsmith and join the conversation.