How To Thrive as a First-Time Manager

Jun 16, 2015

How To Thrive as a First-Time Manager

Becoming a manager for the first time in your career can be intimidating and stressful - the pressure is on, and your coworkers are paying attention. But this is also your chance to hone your leadership skills and create your own management style. Being an effective manager and an effective employee are very different; your mind-set has to switch over from constant self-improvement to considering all the other employees' needs and skills and how to best improve the entire team. ZERORISK HR is experienced in creating and teaching effective leadership in managers.

One of the first things you should do once you are promoted is to get to know your employees. Knowing these people as coworkers and then becoming their leader can be challenging and confusing. But taking the time to sit down with them and understand their skill set and motivation will likely encourage them to open up to the idea of you as their leader. Then, through a group meeting, find out what they like about work and how they prefer to be led, and answer any questions they may have. Alleviating their concerns quickly and identifying their needs are key to effective leadership. Portraying your vision for the team to them will also help them see how they can be a part of it - bringing teamwork together. Once you understand how to effectively motivate and communicate with your team in a way they understand and care about, your leadership effectiveness will skyrocket.

Another thing to consider in your new management position is mentoring. Mentoring will not only benefit the one being mentored but also the one administering the mentoring. According to Forbes (3 Tips For Surviving As A First-Time Manager, by Bill Gentry, May 10, 2013), Managers who provide career-related mentoring to their direct reports by providing sponsorship, coaching and challenge are actually rated as better performers in their job by their boss. Working on giving positive and constructive feedback can help you constructively critique yourself and improve in your own job. Not only will this expand your knowledge and support, taking on this challenge can strengthen your credibility and respect in your work community.

Relationships with your direct reports are key to making the work environment effective. If one of the main reasons employees leave is a rocky relationship with their boss, creating an environment with open communication and considering every employee's opinions will result in less turnover and higher retention. Always do a self-evaluation to make sure you are handling the team without bias - ask yourself whether you are giving more opportunities to those coworkers who are your friends outside of work, for example. Taking a self-check on this will reduce the risk of favoring certain employees and creating rifts with other team members.

ZERORISK HR offers the Clear Direction Manager Development Program, a 6-month coaching program to help guide and benefit those in the manager position, whether they are new to it or not. The program offers objective descriptions on the biases within a manager's thinking and clarity on those biases that allow the manager to exercise judgment. There are many benefits of the program, such as the practical management tips provided that can be applied to the work environment. It also increases management effectiveness by stimulating communication and building relationships between managers and their direct reports.

For more information on taking the next step to improving your management style with the Clear Direction Manager Development Program, call us at (972) 996-0800 or find more information at

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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