The most common new manager mistakes (and how to avoid them)

New Manager Mistakes

The role of a manager is challenging, but even more so if it’s your first time in a managerial position. While the job is highly rewarding when done correctly, there are many pitfalls and mistakes you can make which can have a detrimental effect on your position within the company.

Perhaps you’ve lead projects in the past – this can certainly be helpful when you’re about to manage a team full-time, but becoming a fully-fledged manager is a whole new ball game.

To avoid any new management pitfalls, here are 6 of the most common new manager mistakes and how you can avoid them altogether:

Not getting to know your team members

Being new to the team, especially at the managerial level can be both daunting and exciting. With so many processes to adapt to this can affect building relationships (or lack of) with your team. Not knowing your team members makes working together highly impersonal, leading to staff feeling reluctant to perform the duties delegated to them.

How to avoid: Pay attention to your employees and get to know their interests professionally and their outside interests. This shows you take a genuine interest in both their career development and as individuals. Keep in mind that coaching and mentoring at early stages can come across like you’re trying to implement changes to the business structure too soon.

You’re not actively observing

While employees might say they’re fine or explain how they feel through their verbal communication, it’s important to be able to analyse body language and discover any underlying issues. By observing such behaviour, you show employees you can empathise and genuinely care for their wellbeing.

How to avoid: As a new manager it can be difficult to hone in on this, and it’s very easy to fall into purely listening instead of physically observing. An example of this would be assigning an employee a task that’s out of their depth, and they show visible signs of panic. In this case, you would address that you’re there for full support and will train and/or assist on the areas they fall in.

Feeling like you must know everything

The technical skills you bring to a management role are not necessarily the ones that will excel your career. As a manager you will be asked questions, you’re not sure of, and it’s perfectly normal not to have answers to every single one. Showing you ‘know it all’, especially at such an early stage can exude unintentional arrogance.

How to avoid: Your job is to support and find solutions to issues, not to become the ‘go to’ for absolutely every question. This makes you feel bogged down and puts unnecessary pressure on your role. Admit if you don’t have the answer right now, but endeavour (and follow through) to get the right answer.

You feel the need to say yes to everything

As a manager, you have to delegate tasks effectively and not take on as much work as you possibly can because ‘you’re the boss’. Having too many tasks in your to-do list affects your availability to assist employees or work on the tasks that genuinely require a manager’s attention.

How to avoid: If a task can be handled by an employee with the right skills and availability, delegate the task accordingly. Should the task require your input but can be completed without your direct involvement – make the task and expectations as clear as possible and show you’re available for support if needed.

You micromanage your employees

Assigning an employee with a task, then monitoring each step they take can cause feelings of uneasiness. A good manager displays an open-door policy if anyone needs your help. It inspires confidence and trust in your employees by allowing them to tackle the task in the best way that suits them.

Already – 75% of staff are open to the idea of leaving their current jobs. Employees that feel micromanaged can often feel like they need to move jobs or work under a manager that gives them the freedom to perform tasks freely, ask questions and gain regular feedback.

How to avoid: By providing clear points and an approachable demeanour, you can make trusting your employees a simple process. Offer to regularly review work or as often as needed and ensure your employees know you’re approachable if they need help.

You don’t involve your boss

It’s a common misconception that new managers are hired to take off the workload from a boss. While there is some element of truth to this, the communication between a new manager and boss is imperative to ensuring everyone is on the same page.

How to avoid: Ask your boss questions and allow them to coach you in the ways of excelling in your managerial role. Establish goals, expectations, how often your boss would like contacting, how much involvement they should have in projects.

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