Updated: Oct 12, 2022
Being a first-time manager might be compared to being thrown into a lake with no life jacket. People often assume management roles without having received any formalized leadership training. Many managers will not receive such training until they are in their 40s. This means that many people learn as they go, making mistakes and sometimes achieving victories that have lasting impacts on their teams.
How does a manager “manage” and how do they lead?
Not every manager is a leader and not every leader is a manager. Now that I have thoroughly confused you, let’s break this down.
What is a manager exactly?
a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization (dictionary.com)
Managers, by definition, control or administer all or part of a company or organization. However, nowhere does this definition mention people. When you manage, you manage processes. People, by proxy usually are the facilitators of those processes.
A leader is?
Learn about yourself as a leader
Being able to define the kind of leader you are and want to be is important for new leaders. Remember that imposter syndrome can get in your way, but you can overcome it by staying focused on doing what is best for your team. Show vulnerability and transparency with your colleagues by admitting your mistakes. This will help you gain their trust and respect, and create a more cohesive team.
Trust and relationships are the cornerstone of leadership
As managers refine their leadership roles, they need to understand how to provide constructive and measurable feedback. It is important for managers to give feedback as well as be open to receiving feedback from their team.
Trust and delegation are important factors in leadership. In order for you to trust your team, and for them to trust in you as their leader; you need to build relationships with them and delegate responsibilities to them. You also need to be able to back up your team by standing up for them or by providing extra motivation when needed.
Remember, your team is human and so are you
Leaders should also be people-oriented, understanding that their employees are human beings with lives outside of work. Leaders should have empathy and support their employees, not treat them like expendable machines.
So, getting back to the question at hand, how can you be a great first-time manager? While there is no one way to be a great first-time manager. While you may not get it right all of the time, transparency, vulnerability, and trust with your team will go a long way.