What Employees Want New Managers to STOP Doing

A Note to new managers on a bulletin board reading "Stop Doing What Doesn't Work"

With over two decades in the trenches helping new managers learn what good management entails and observing leadership best practices, we have some proven tips to pass along.

Our first recommendation is to get the new manager training you need to build the skills of leaders. Until now you probably excelled as an individual contributor…that’s why you were singled out for promotion. However, the role of a new manager or supervisor requires a whole new skill set. Learn what you need to know and then follow these tips that are helpful for even the not-so-new managers.

New leaders need to stop doing what doesn’t work.

  • Stop holding on to workers who don’t support the team
    New managers especially are loathe to let team members go. It certainly shouldn’t be done precipitously—it takes time to evaluate the individuals on your team—but poor workers, either because of inability or serious incompatibility, can undermine team performance.If you have an employee who is performing below standard, you need to find out why. Do they need more training or an assignment that better utilizes their strengths? If there’s no improvement, compassionately find another spot for them. If you have an employee who disrespects others or who is not a cultural fit, don’t hang on to them. Show that what you value most is a positive, collaborative environment.
  • Stop emphasizing strategy over mission
    Yes, you do need a cohesive plan that guides the decisions of your team and sets out the clear action steps to achieve your objectives. But understand that strategy on its own does not motivate your employees. Instead, employees are inspired to work harder and better when they have a meaningful sense of mission. When they understand that their work has purpose and contributes to the organization’s overall goals, they can more fully commit to the strategy. Mission helps to drive employee engagement, not the other way around.
  • Stop using money as your only motivator
    Money as a primary motivator, especially for tasks that depend on creative, innovative thinking, is simply ineffective. Instead give your employees opportunities…to learn and grow, to tackle new challenges, and to operate with more autonomy. Additionally, superior work and effort should be recognized and rewarded…not just (or at all) by dollars but by public thank you’s and salutes.
  • Stop avoiding making the difficult decisions
    As a new manager, you must make all kinds of decisions – often with limited time and information. A few are easy; most are tough. But you can’t wait to gather in all the information you’d like to have to rule out uncertainty. Life in the business world moves too fast for the luxury of risk-free decision-making. You will make mistakes but, usually, inaction is more risky than action. You can always shift course along the way. Meantime, take responsibility for your decisions, deal with the consequences, clean up any messes that occur, and learn.

As a new manager there are things you need to “stop” doing. But what you must “keep on” doing is learning and creating the environment for your team to succeed. That’s the most important thing you do as a manager.

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