Great New Managers Are Great Communicators

A cartoon of a boardroom with a cat in a suit at the conference table. A businessman is calling out the door, "Come on in everyone. The new manager won't hiss."

New manager training experts know that great managers are great communicators.

If you are a new manager who really wants to succeed, take a look at the leaders you admire. Chances are that what they all have in common is that they are great communicators…no hissing allowed.

When you take on the responsibility of leading a new team, one of your most critical tasks is to begin building relationships. For these relationships to develop in a positive way so that you earn respect and trust as a leader, you need to know how to communicate effectively. Here are some tips on how to get started on the right foot supervising your new team:

  1. Be authentic
    Yes, management may be new for you and a promotion from your former status as an individual contributor. But don’t let it go to your head. Remain who you are at the core. Stick to your values. The best new leaders find their own voice and have the courage to use it. You are not “above” others. You are now in a position to have them rally around you. Few will follow a leader who behaves falsely.
  2. Listen well
    Ask your questions then actively listen to the responses. If you truly want to get to know someone, they should do more of the talking than you. When you are fully present, your team members will feel heard and understood. Good listening is more than half of what it takes to be a good communicator and new manager.
  3. Show that you care
    Make a genuine effort to get to know your team members on an individual basis. Learn what they like to do, what they aspire to, where they need support, and how they understand their role on the team. And then when you have a sense of what matters to them professionally, try to get to know how they spend their personal time. Find some common interests so you can relate on a human level, not just boss to follower.
  4. Adapt to the situation as needed
    Recognize that everyone has a preferred style of communication. Be flexible in your management and communication style so you can more effectively reach the different members of your team. The best leaders and communicators customize their style to match their followers.
  5. Be vulnerable and use a bit of humor
    Don’t pretend to know it all. When you make a mistake or find you are not the expert in the room, admit it. Ask for help. When you model that mistakes or ignorance are just stepping stones to learning, you teach your team members that continuous learning is a value that matters. And, when you can, inject some humor into the process. Laughing together builds bridges that an over-serious demeanor cannot.

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