Starting as a manager is a new experience, and many new managers are scared of making mistakes. It shows that they do care, but making mistakes is a part of taking on a new challenge.
As you become a manager, making mistakes will be inevitable. The biggest lesson is learning and growing from your mistakes. It's also helpful to be proactive in dodging the errors so you can to set yourself up for success.
Here are some usual mistakes that new managers make and how to avoid them.
Five errors new managers make and advice on how to avoid them:
1. You focus on details & micromanaging
First, understand the bigger picture of your employees' duties and how they fit into the goals of your team and organisation.
If you're shifting from employee to manager, you will need to change your more detail-oriented approach. You might feel the need to coach your employees through each step of their tasks. What's worse, you might end up doing their work for them.
As your team's leader, your purpose is to lead your team by setting objectives and aligning everyone to meet these goals. You will need to support your employees as they work towards the objectives, but let them do it their way.
Advice: Have a team meeting early on to address the team's goals and plan projects that align with those goals. It will get your team on the same page and give you the courage to take a step back and let them work autonomously.
A good manager treats their employees fairly.
2. You do not see your employees as individuals.
Your team works together towards mutual goals, but the team's still made up of individuals with different skill sets and personalities. Every employee brings something different to the table, and together, they form your team.
Mind the differences between your employees and don't treat them all the same.
Look at the bigger picture when it comes to goals, but get familiar with your employees and their roles on an individual basis. They all also have different needs and will seek different ways of support from you.
Advice: After meeting your team as a group, meet with your employees individually to discuss their tasks and work styles. Please get to know your employees on a more personal level as it will help you support them more effectively.
3. Focusing on your superiors instead of your team
A manager needs to shift their focus back and forth between their team and their leadership. As a manager, you need to turn the leadership's objectives into actions for your team and show the leadership how your employees' work achieved those results.
It's tough to know how to divide your focus and assure that everyone is happy. The success of your team proves your success as a manager.
Focusing on your team will help you to produce the results that your superiors demand from you. Part of your role is being an advocate for your employees in your interactions with your boss.
Advice: Meet with your superiors to define their expectations of you and how your team's goals align with those expectations. Communicate this information back to your employees.
Just because you're a manager, does not mean you're on your own.
4. Behaving as a boss rather than a leader
A big misconception about being a manager is that because you're an authoritative role, you make all the decisions. Your part is to organise and align your employees; it does not mean you should be bossing anyone around.
A good manager isn't above their team; they're part of it. You have to guide your team towards success and ensure that they have everything they need to get there.
Advice: Establish yourself as a part of the team and get them involved in collective decision-making and goal-setting. Employees want to see how their work contributes to the bigger goals of your team and organisation.
5. Faking it
Another mistake that new managers tend to fake it. In your new role, you might pressure yourself to be perfect, but it's always better to be genuine. The effort of faking it often comes from the fear of making mistakes. Here are a few standard ways of faking it:
- Pretends to know everything: Becoming a manager is a learning process, and it takes time to get used to it. It's alright if you don't have all the answers on the first day. Ask questions, be open and stay curious. Remember that every employee has something to teach you.
- Keeps quiet about their challenges: You should open up about the difficulties you're facing with other managers and superiors. You're not alone, and discussing it with experienced peers can help you out.
- Copying leadership styles: You can learn a lot from the managers you admire, but don't copy their techniques. You and your team are unique, and you need to find a leadership style that works best for your goals.
- Block everyone out: Being a manager is all about interpersonal relationships and people management, so you need to be yourself. Embracing your mistakes and showing that you're human helps you to gain trust with your employees.
Advice: Seek out training and coaching opportunities wherever you can. Ask your employees to give feedback on how you're doing as a manager so you can improve.
Part of taking on a new challenge is making mistakes, but these pieces of advice are simple ways for you to be proactive in avoiding the big ones when becoming a manager.
Keep in mind that making mistakes is natural for both you and your team. It's how we learn from them and grow that matters.
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