Now I can’t say I am a veteran of being a manager. I have only two experiences, one in my last job and at Dell Technologies I only have about 8 months of “Manager experience”. The reason I put it in air quotes is because you don’t always need a job title to lead and help manage people, however it sure does help.
In this blog I will be pulling from my experience leading people and some of the things that I learned becoming a new Manager, whether new to the company or a promotion within the organization.
Tip 1: Prepare before you Get Promoted
Well if you are already a new manager this might be too late, and it may sound counter-intuitive but if you are on the way up to this new role, there are a few things that can help you prep for it. I would suggest reading up on the topic of managing people, defining what type of manager you want to be or what type of manager the role allows you to be. It is very different managing 6 people or 15. Understanding that you can only do so much with the amount of time you have, will give you a lot of grace in the first 6 months of the new role. If it is an internal move, take time to get to know the job, the employees and scheduling in time to learn from others. If you know the hiring manager, ask them if you can participate in some of the meetings as a fly in the wall so you can learn the culture and language.
Tip 2: Be Available & Ask Questions
There is nothing worse than having a boss that is unavailable or hard to get a hold of. While you are taking the time to learn your new role, joining various leadership trainings, take time to lean into your new team. Get more involved, understand what they are going through and ask lots of questions. My favourite question to ask employees is “I have an idea, What do you think?”. Asking employees for their ideas is the ultimate display of respect and typically empowers them to solve their own problems.
Tip 3: Learn to Deal with Performance Issues
If you are not walking into a start-up company, you are most likely walking on to a team built by someone else. With that comes baggage from a previous manager; I don’t believe there is one role I have ever walked into where everything was working well. The previous boss may have been sweeping any poor performance issues under the rug. Part of your job as a new manager is learning a consistent and effective way to deal with employees who are not performing up to company standard. At the end of the day, your teams’ performance is a direct reflection of you. Don’t be surprised if the previous boss left some things to clean up and that you will need to learn how to deal with it in your own way.
Tip 4: Treat Every Employee with Respect and Listen
The organizational chart might show that your “role” is superior than your employees, however this is not to get confused with thinking you are better than them. Every job whether you are leading people or not, should also start with respect. Everyone deserves to come to work everyday and get treated with respect and dignity. A great way to start is be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Tip 5: Get a Mentor on Day 1
I cannot stress this one enough! I feel like in my current role, if I was to have a buddy or a mentor day one who has been in the same role as me relatively recently, I would of had a faster ramp time. Luckily I have a few right now and they make all the difference.