4 Major Challenges New Managers Must Overcome to Succeed

a single pawn faces an army on the chess board illustrating the challenges of new manager training

New manager training programs exist by the hundreds. They teach all kinds of leadership skills necessary for new managers (or experienced managers for that matter) to succeed. The challenges of the transition from individual contributor to leading a team are significant. But still…does it have to be so difficult?

At first it can feel as though you are one against many. But turn yourself around. Don’t be the pawn facing an army of opponents; see yourself instead as the new leader of the team. To marshal the forces so they work with, and not against, you, there are 4 major challenges you must address as a new manager:

  1. Incomplete, inconsistent or unclear communication
    You cannot expect your employees to deliver against your expectations if you do not communicate them clearly, consistently and completely. When employees don’t understand what you want of them, their performance and level of engagement suffers.They are likely to focus on the wrong tasks and delay the project, or repeat a task another teammate has already completed, or head off in the wrong direction. Be crystal clear in how you describe work standards and job roles. This is the way to minimize conflict, avoid worker dissatisfaction and complete projects on time.
  2. Faulty decision making
    The best managers are effective decision makers. They operate not by gut-feel but by facts, and are able to analyze the pros and cons objectively with the desired outcomes and relationships in mind. High performing managers also understand that a delayed decision can be a greater mistake than a faulty one. Inaction is a trap many new managers fall into. They are so concerned with making the wrong move that they make none at all. Gather the best intel you can and then choose a path that you believe in and that makes sense given the strategic and cultural context of the day. Adjustments can (and should) be made along the way.
  3. Fuzzy priorities
    Each employee should know not only their own personal goals, roles and success metrics but also those for the company, their team and their boss. New manager training programs do not often emphasize this enough. Yes, you need to specify tasks clearly. But what matters most is that workers understand how their tasks align with the overall strategy of the organization. It allows them (and you) to get aligned and raise performance.
  4. Ineffective performance management
    New managers are, above all else, rated on the performance of their team. When the team performs, the manager’s halo shines. It is the manager’s job to meet with each team member to define both performance success and failure in a way that is clear, agreed-upon, meaningful, measurable, and challenging but attainable. When employees understand and commit to their own performance goals, they are accountable and strive to do their best to reach them.

Becoming a new manager is challenging but not impossible for those who are willing to change their perspective from leader-of-one to leader-of-many.

To learn more about creating high performing new managers, download The 4 Management Metrics that Matter Most

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