Being a newbie at anything is hard. The learning curve can feel steep. We go through a host of emotions. And we make a lot of mistakes.
As a new manager, you are probably experiencing some of what I mentioned above. We all do. It’s part of the learning process. That said, it doesn’t mean we must make all the mistakes to learn. Sometimes part of the learning process is learning from other people’s mistakes so that we don’t make the same errors.
In this post, I’m sharing some of the most common mistakes I have seen newbie managers make that kill their credibility. These are the things I wish someone would have pointed out at the time where I was going wrong so I didn’t have to go through the pain of failing and having to pick myself up.
But first, to really help you stand out in your new role, I highly recommend downloading The Ultimate Guide to Being An Effective Team Leader. A free downloadable interactive guide to help you show up and stand out and take the right action steps.
Now that you have your guide on hand check out if you’re making some of these mistakes as a manager.
So many first-time managers find themselves in a position where they are not being direct enough with team members, colleagues, or even their bosses for one of two reasons, it’s either a fear of confrontation or an overwhelming desire to be liked, which I 100% understand, we all want to receive approval from our team or colleagues.
Whatever the reason, these two reasons usually lead to avoiding the hard truths, which we must speak out loud in our role as managers. That’s why when a manager neglects to talk about the truth and either steps away from the conversation or sugarcoats the facts, that leads to many problems.
If you do not speak directly to your team members, it will end up confusing them, and as a result, they will be delivering poor results, not to mention impacting the team’s morale. They’re watching everything you do and are expecting concrete results and leadership skills.
In addition, choosing to either let something go or sugarcoat the issue sends two messages. First, for the high performers on your team, it will generate discomfort in their work environment. Since they usually care and focus on deliverables and don’t want to work with people who aren’t fit for the job.
The second message is for the poor performers; it gives a free pass to continue to perform poorly because you, as a manager, won’t stand up and hold them to any standard.On top of having a team that’s out of control, a manager that makes the mistake of not being direct or dealing with the issues loses the boss’s respect because, trust me, they’re watching your ability to handle matters and be direct.
So we all know how annoying and detrimental it is to work for a micromanager, yet it happens all the time, particularly for first-time managers. There are several root causes of micromanagement at such an early stage of leadership. Still, the most common reason is that quite often, a new manager gets thrust into a role with little to no training, and because of that, they have little to no idea how to delegate, train and trust team members with work. And so they do pretty much everything on their own, and anything that belongs to team members is carefully observed because they don’t understand the role of helping their team to achieve results.
Macromanagement is another mistake that happens. Not as frequently as micromanagement, but it does happen, and that’s usually tied to the leadership style of the individual leading. But macromanagement is when a manager leaves the team on their own to figure it out. Have you ever been on a team where there is no direction to the point where you are like, who’s in charge?
That’s usually because that manager has adopted this very fair way of leading the team. Now I’m a massive fan of autonomy – trust me – but at the same time, having direction is required for consistent outcomes, so for many reasons, macromanagement is also damaging to all involved.
A contingency plan is one of the tools you need to use as a manager. Now I know that we can never really know what ,will happen exactly, but part of coming out strong on the other end of any situation is always having a plan.
One of the most important things I teach my students in the New Manager Accelerator Program is how to prepare for a challenging conversation. There are two complete lessons on this, and it involves having a handle on the lean in words to use, the words that raise the defenses to stay away from, the body language to be mindful of, and how to describe the specific issue.
Difficult conversations will happen, and you will be far less stressed and anxious if you plan out what you will say and how you will say it so that you can have the impact you want to have.
The whole point of having the conversation is to see a change, but change is only possible when we handle the conversation correctly.
That’s why I recommend you take the time to prepare for all difficult conversations. A great exercise that works to the charm is role-play. Pick someone you are comfortable with, then role-play the conversation with them and check out the different outcomes. Focus on your response and their feedback and develop the best solution for your scenario.
I’m not saying you must be BFFs with your team members. You should know them. Learn about their goals, motivations, and where they feel challenged.
When managers don’t have an approach with their team members are unable to earn respect and build trust, and as a result, they don’t end up achieving their goals. It’s impossible to make sustained outcomes from people you don’t know.
Another mistake I see managers making in this same category is thinking that because they’re the boss, people will comply. However, this is only a limited guarantee. As a first-time manager, you should earn the people’s respect and show why you’re the person in charge. You will achieve this by knowing each individual under your wing, so they can perform where they’re the best, helping them with anything they need and working on any improvements together.
To help you combat some of these most common mistakes, I have a free resource called the New Manager Starter Kit.
This toolkit will help set you up for success by walking you through some of the most critical aspects of team leadership that you should be focused on now. Please go through it, answer the question prompts, and make it part of your strategy moving forward!
Comment below if you’ve identified yourself doing one of these mistakes and let me know which one are you going to be working on from now on.
November 10, 2020