I’m so excited for this video because I truly believe it will have an impact on you and hopefully shape your own journey in management for the better.
In preparation for this video I found my journals from when I was newly promoted. And all I have to say is that Mak was a very interesting person back then! Click the video below to learn about some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a first-time manager.
Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below. Before you dive in, don’t forget to download your FREE GUIDE: The Ultimate Guide to Being an Effective Team Leader here.
As a new manager I was:
Crippled with fear of failure
Stuffing from imposter syndrome,
Fearful about being labeled the bad guy
Deathly afraid of conflict
I also had no guidance or direction on what to do and all this stuff manifested itself in my day to day.
Now that I’m a bit wiser I want to go back and just talk through some of my specific struggles and then give advice to my past self which inadvertently is advice for new managers because I was a new manager at the time myself. Follow my drift?
Let’s get started!
Back in the day when I first got started I was deathly afraid of hurting people’s feelings. I’m an empath so I really take on people’s emotions.
Sometimes I would get back work from some of the best people on the team that wasn’t necessarily good. And because I didn’t know HOW to give feedback in a way that separates the person from the work, I wasn’t straight up about the fact that it needed to be redone, or adjusted.
I would often pretend the work was great and then secretly change it.
So I ended up doing twice the work because I was fearful of hurting feelings. That was stupid. I should have been courageous and been honest about the fact that the work didn’t meet expectations.
So my advice for new managers who find themselves in this boat is to first of all, learn how to give feedback.
It’s your responsibility to give feedback. You will also feel less fear around providing this feedback if you learn how to give the feedback properly.
My department and everything about it, I built from the ground up.
If you have been following me you know that i got promoted when it was a tiny team of 4 with really no direction. And we grew to be a 20+ team with a vision, and we were working hard towards that vision all of us as a team.
So the entire department was my baby, I built it. And so I would take things super personally when someone had something bad to say about it. Whether it was constructive or not.
Now not all of it was constructive criticism – some of the clients we worked with were out of bounds and didn’t know how to communicate properly. But some of it was constructive and I and my team would have benefited from it if I didn’t shut it out.
So my advice for new managers is to take a deep breath when criticism comes your way.
I took a course on how to accept criticism a couple years back, and one of the things I remember was suggesting ways to ask for concrete examples.
So for you, go into questioning mode so that you can really understand what it is that person is trying to communicate to you so that if necessary you can make the changes.
Now because I was suffering from imposter syndrome, and self doubt and all that emotional stuff that holds one back. I would often pursue ideas that I didn’t necessarily agree with.
I would also look for input on my decisions whether that be from fellow team members or my direct manager at the time. And I didn’t always need to do that.
The truth is I had a vision and if I just trusted myself more I would have avoided being led off path due to listening to someone that didn’t know the vision or direction I was trying to take the department.
So my advice for new managers is that yes you are new. But you were chosen for this role for a reason and you are the closest to the department which means you have an acute understanding of the needs and where you are taking this ship so trust your instincts.
Too many cooks can spoil the meal.
Plus if you are constantly seeking out validation of your decisions you’re going to end up losing your own thoughts, and becoming a carbon copy of someone else’s ideas. Not to mention you won’t be building on your skills if you are always relying on someone else or other people to help you navigate and make wise decisions.
THIS is a big one. Ask anyone on my team!
I had a propensity to go from 0-100 real quick. Not in all situations, but there were a handful of things that really got me fired up, or flustered.
One of those things that would trigger me was employee behaviour. If someone was doing or acting in a way that triggered me I would get pretty pissed off and lash out and then it would ruin the trust that I had worked so hard to build.
You know when I look back, I am very fortunate that I hired a group of mature people that were able to look past my deficiencies and give me the benefit of the doubt. For that I’m super thankful because I did have a lot of moments where I didn’t do a good job of managing my emotions.
Looking back I feel as though I just didn’t know HOW to manage my emotions in a way that was productive.
The feelings I had were valid – but the way I chose to exhibit those feelings were not so good.
As a coach for other managers I realize that that’s not isolated to just me.
A lot of people I talk to are not necessarily happy with the way that they react to things in the moment.
This is why in this version of The New Manager Accelerator I added a lesson and an audio series purely on managing emotions that is neuroscience backed.
For me, understanding how my brain works really allowed me to hack and then slow down the reactions I was having.
So my advice to new managers – rather than just accept the emotional rollercoaster of reactions you are having day to day or when you are triggered, do the work of learning how to manage it. Because it does have an affect on your working relationships and the respect and trust level with your team.
A huge mistake I made was saying something once or twice and then assuming people understood what I wanted. Then when things didn’t turn out as I wanted I would get frustrated!
What I had to come to terms with was that it wasn’t on them, it was on me.
One of the biggest leadership lessons I have learned through study and meditation is the importance of repeating yourself.
Just because you said it once or twice it doesn’t mean they heard it or understood it.
Whatever is important to you – you need to repeat it until you are sick and tired of saying the same thing over and over again. That’s just the way it goes. As humans we need reminders.
I don’t know about you friend, but for me I had this deep desire to be liked. Now I know that was rooted in me feeling unworthy for the role in the first place. But it affected the decisions I made!
The thing is being a leader requires you to make the tough choices.
And if you’re doing it right – it’s not always going to be easy.
Remember as leader of the team you’re the only person on that team whose entire role it is to ensure the team is set up for success. That means you have to make decisions on behalf of the team and not just yourself and how you feel.
You’re not here to win a popularity contest, you’re here to help your team win.
So my advice to new managers is to get clear about who you are. What you stand for and what the vision is for the team.
If you are able to do that, it will for sure make it easier for you to do the right thing for the team, even if it makes you the bad guy for a bit because you know without a doubt that it’s the wise thing to do – which is your job.
July 22, 2021