Five Essentials for First Time Managers

Submitted by Sylvia Hepler

Create a positive mindset toward management. Understand that what you believe deep inside lays the foundation for everything that happens next. This includes your ideas about management and managers in general, your current position, your ability to succeed, and your attitude toward ongoing learning. Know that you have what it takes to do the job. Decide to grow your skills, model exemplary behaviors, and take appropriate action.

Invest your time wisely. Time is a perishable resource that cannot be replaced. Get clear about your core personal values and priorities as well as the company’s values and priorities. This information sets the foundation for creating your calendar. Identify your biggest distractions, and look for ways to eliminate or manage them. Learn to focus – and avoid multi-tasking whenever possible.

Design a professional image that serves you. People are watching you and forming impressions of you even when you think they aren’t. The good news is that YOU get to shape their perceptions. Pay attention to your appearance, speech, body language, confidence level, and likeability factor. Aim to be seen as credible, competent, and genuinely interested in others. You can’t afford to ignore your image.

Supervise staff in ways that inspire them. Know that supervision is an art you can’t master overnight. It’s conscious, proactive, and bold. Inspire employees by supporting them, challenging them, allowing them to make mistakes, encouraging them to take reasonable risks, leading them through change, and soliciting their ideas. Show that you care about their careers and their lives.

Build an environment of trust. The price for distrust is both personal and organizational failure. If your employees trust you and each other, success follows. Performance improves. Bad behavior declines. Creativity soars. Collaboration rules. Allow people do their jobs. Treat them as professionals. Expect them to make decisions. Invite them to solve problems, and seek feedback often. Do these things and you’re sure to win!