8 Tips for Every First-Time Manager

first time manager

Being a first-time manager is exciting and scary. You’ve proven yourself to your company and boss, but now comes the harder part: earning respect from your fellow employees, managing a more rigorous day to day, and learning how to do your new job well.

Keep the following eight tips in mind to make your job—and everyone else’s—a little bit easier and more enjoyable during the transition.

1. Consider Other Perspectives

As a first-time manager, you alienate yourself from your employees when you don’t put yourself in their shoes. This doesn’t mean always taking their side, rather, considering situations or issues from both a management and employee side. Once you take their perspective into account, you’ll be better equipped to react to their complaints and frustrations. People want to be managed by someone who listens and understands.

2. Get Some Advice

Asking for help is one of the best ways to improve as a manager because it gives you a chance to communicate with other people, while showing them you know you don’t have all the answers. Getting ideas from more experienced managers can help you in two ways: you gain their expertise on managing others and get to flex your communication muscles within the company.

3. Motivate Your Team

Before you were promoted, it was your job to complete the tasks set before you. Now, it’s your job to motivate others to want to do their job well too. This is a significant paradigm shift for most people; your job is no longer just about you. Not to mention your success depends entirely upon the success of your team. Delegate tasks and check in on your employees to see if they need any clarification and be willing to help if members of your team are struggling. An approachable manager is always a more respected manager.

team meeting

4. Be Decisive

Decision-making is hard, and it’s easy as a first-time manager to have a tendency to over think and over complicate even the smallest decisions. While you don’t want to overthink things, it is important that you understand the consequences of hastily making difficult decisions. Weigh your options, carefully think each one through, and try to make the best decision for the company.

5. Set an Example

Setting an example is one of the toughest parts of the transition for a first-time manager. With your promotion comes significant responsibility to set the bar high. You’re on display for the entire office and your team will look to you for how they should behave. It’s important you understand the consequences of your own actions and how you define your office culture.

For example, if you’re constantly texting at work, your employees will think it’s acceptable for them to do so as well. Show up on time and don’t complain in front of your team—someone is always watching you, whether it’s a team member or upper-level management.

6. Give Feedback Often

Giving feedback is a good thing. Many managers don’t want to seem overbearing or controlling to their employees, but feedback allows you to acknowledge progress and steer employees back on track when necessary. Balance positives and negatives so your team will feel motivated and supported.

7. Get Involved in the Process

Make it a point to stay involved with the projects your team is working on. It’s important that you show your employees you care about the work they are doing, which requires action on your part. Ask about current projects and needs, get input and feedback when possible, and try to blend in with the team without losing your authoritative status.

8. Acknowledge the Relationship Shift

Becoming the boss will change your relationships with people in the office. Ignoring this change, instead of embracing it, can make you look unprofessional. Try to strike a middle ground between the two.

No one likes a tyrant, so don’t come into your new position barking orders at everyone. Instead, show others that you respect their role in the company and they’ll likely return the favor. If there are people in the office that you’re close with, consider having a talk with them about the new changes in your working relationship to squash any misconceptions or hard feelings.

At the end of the day, be the kind of manager you would respect and look up to. Stay involved, be encouraging and most importantly have fun.

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.