4 Field-Tested Places to Focus as a New Manager

A blurry picture of a busy schedule to illustrate the challenge to Focus as a New Manager

Your Team Is Watching
With one stroke of the pen, the promotion became real.  You were suddenly thrust into the position of leader.  Unfortunately the abilities and attributes that earned you the more exalted position are not the same abilities and attributes you will need to succeed as a leader.  To succeed, you need to learn to focus as a new manager to be a good manager.

Hopefully you will have the time and opportunity to develop the necessary management skills to start you off in the right direction.  Meantime, your team is watching…

Two Common Missteps
New managers, due to their inexperience, are apt to make at least one of these two very common mistakes related to where they focus as a new manager.  First, too many new managers work harder than they need to because they have not yet learned how to effectively delegate tasks.  Secondly, too many new managers spend more time on trying to impress those above them than on helping their team to succeed.

You Must Earn Trust
Be aware that concerns over your ability to lead are not yours alone…your team probably has them too.  With this in mind, know that they are observing you for any clues as to what your leadership will be like.  Will you be a bad boss or a good boss?  Will the team perform well or poorly?  Will you pay attention to the needs and wants of individual team members?  What is your communication and work style?  And the list goes on…

Where You Should Focus as a New Manager
Here’s where we think you should focus as a new manager in terms of your attention and your energy:

  • Getting to Know Your Team
    Get to know them on a personal basis. Schedule one-on-ones to introduce yourself and to learn what they like to do and how they like to work.  Find out why the team has succeeded or failed in the past and how you can support their success.
  • Articulating Your Vision for Success
    Don’t be afraid to share your values and your thoughts on what success will look like. Setting expectations around acceptable behaviors, winning attitudes and performance standards is the job of a leader.  The best leaders know how to articulate their vision and inspire their followers to achieve it.
  • Open Communication
    Make it clear that you want team members to communicate freely and respectfully with you and with one another. Show that you welcome questions and suggestions by actively listening and taking them into account as warranted.
  • Continuous Learning
    Don’t try to pretend to be all-knowing. It is better to be a bit humble and set the example that you have much to learn…as they do.  A team that is focused on doing things better each time is a team that shows performance improvement day-by-day and year-by-year.

The Bottom Line
Taking on the role of a new manager is both exciting and daunting.  Do what you can to prepare for the challenges ahead and follow the advice of those who have gone before.

To learn more about being an effective new leader, download New Leader Mistakes: 5 Traps to Avoid

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