9 New Manager Warning Signs to Pay Attention To

6 different people point the finger at one man under a rain cloud

New managers want to succeed but often don’t know how. And their mistaken idea of what it takes to lead and be responsible for the performance of others gets new supervisors in deep trouble.

If you are part of the team that promotes individual contributors to management positions, it is incumbent upon you to see that they are prepared for the new leadership role. New managers need training to set them up to succeed. If they fail, they make take the whole team down with them.

Watch out for these 9 signs that your new managers are struggling and on the brink of failure.

  1. They take little personal interest in their team members.
    Building a team and establishing the new dynamics that a new leader brings can be challenging. The best way to gain the trust of new team members is to get to know them on a personal and professional basis. What do they like to do on the job and off? How do they want to contribute to the team? What changes would they make in the way the team has worked together so far? What are their personal and professional goals and aspirations? Inexperienced managers almost always underestimate this aspect of leadership.
  2. They manage by instilling anxiety or making threats.
    They are abrupt and abrasive in their communications. Perhaps this was the way they were managed in the past but it is very destructive to the individual employees and to the team as a whole. This approach is not sustainable. It leads to dis-engaged employees, lower productivity and higher attrition. Make sure that your new managers are not putting their teams under constant and ineffective performance pressure. Download Whitepaper: Performance Pressure: How Much Should a New Leader Push?
  3. They don’t know how to delegate.
    Without trust that their team can perform at a high enough level, new managers are tempted to try to do too much themselves or to micromanage. Either way, their employees can feel undervalued and resentful. Good managers know how to set expectations, clarify roles and responsibilities and empower their team members to do their job.
  4. They treat team members unfairly.
    This can go both ways…they may favor some over others creating an unhealthy political environment or they may overlook poor performance. Leaders need to have an even hand in dealing with their employees. Substandard performance needs to be compassionately confronted and a fair plan put in place for improvement. High performers should be motivated with differentiated rewards and results should be transparent to the entire team.
  5. They don’t know how to give feedback.
    The main job of a new manager is to create a high performing team. This requires giving relevant and timely feedback on a regular basis so employees learn what is expected, what works and what behaviors are discouraged. This is how they learn and how organization values are supported and reinforced. Performance expectation and performance status ambiguity is the enemy of high performing managers.
  6. They are quick to blame and don’t have “the back” of their team members.
    Finger pointing undermines the trust that good leaders foster by shouldering the responsibility for the team when things go wrong. Good managers are also ready to pass along kudos when things go right.
  7. They don’t keep the team well informed.
    Teams that are isolated from the news at the organization level feel out of sync and discounted. Important information should be shared. Transparency builds trust, the foundation for any productive team. In fact, recent organizational alignment research found that information flow and transparency is the fourth most important factor in creating a high performance team.
  8. They avoid making decisions.
    Once the relevant information is gathered, managers should be able to sift through and make a decision. Too much waffling creates confusion on the team and loss of respect. Strong managers are decisive.
  9. They don’t take a strategic view.
    New managers are often so caught up in the day-to-day tasks that they neglect to look forward and plan for the future. The best leaders set aside time each day to take stock of what challenges lie ahead and how to address them. They think laterally and do not get stuck in the “weeds.”

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