It’s not surprising that first-time managers encounter numerous obstacles to their success. Recent polls have shown that 50% of managers have received NO training before they started their job as a manager. This is a source of many of the obstacles that first-time managers encounter.
Here are five obstacles to overcome as a first-time manager:
1. Thinking That You Will Have More Authority
Perhaps the easiest trap that new managers fall into is thinking he or she has an increased degree of authority, along with an increase in responsibility. Individuals who are proactive, standout performers are used to having autonomy and the authority to make their own decisions. When they enter into a managerial role, the tendency is to expect more of the same, perhaps even an increased level of authority. Once they are in the managerial position, they often discover that they are less autonomous. In fact, they are much more constrained in this new role.
Demands are made upon them from all fronts – their subordinates, their boss, their peers, those inside and outside of their immediate organization. There are relentless, and sometimes conflicting, requests on a daily basis. One new manager who was quoted in the Harvard Business article “Becoming the Boss” by Professor Linda Hill said, “Becoming a manager is not about becoming a boss. It’s about becoming a hostage.”
2. Thinking That You Know Everything
Another common mistake that new managers make follows close on the heels of this first pitfall – thinking that you know everything. If you have been used to “calling the shots” so to speak, you expect that your opinion is valuable and that you have an answer for everything.
As part of a team, your individual contribution is valuable to the team, but you are only responsible for one part of the team’s efforts. As a manager, you now have the responsibility for creating a cohesive team by coordinating everyone’s opinions. And, if the quality of the team is on par with your own skill level, you’ll need to be able to consolidate the knowledge of each of your team members, no longer relying solely on your own expertise.
3. Not Understanding The Difference Between Managing And Leading
How well a new manager learns to handle these first two obstacles highlights the new manager’s need to learn the difference between leading and managing. The most significant difference between the two is to know when to delegate. A manager keeps control over the team by overseeing the tasks that need to be done.
A leader guides the process by identifying the ‘big picture’ and balancing the tasks that need to be done by delegating them according to the skills and strengths of the resources on the team. A leader knows that teaching the team members to ‘lead’ makes for a stronger team. The manager still has the ultimate responsibility for the team’s success or failure. It is the manager who lets other team members participate who is able to retain his authority rather than lose it.
4. Not Supporting Your Team
New managers need to realize that their team is a reflection on them and that they need to set a good example for their team. The delegating of tasks may flow down through the team, but the responsibility for the team’s behavior flows up to the manager. Managers earn the credit for their team’s successes and must also be ready to accept the responsibility for the team’s overall performance. A manager needs to let the team know that they have a champion who is in their corner. The team needs to feel protected by their manager. “All for one and one for all.”
5. Trying To Be Someone You Are Not
Finally, on this list of advice for overcoming obstacles as a new manager, is the importance of being yourself. You need to know your own strengths and understand your goals as a new manager. You also need to realize that it is important to let your team know who you are – your plans, your goals, your needs, and your expectations of them individually – and as a team.
Keep the lines of communication open so that you can be genuine with your team. The sooner you set this tone with them, the better the outcome will be for you and for your team.
Each day from day one will bring you team building opportunities. These opportunities will be enhanced by your attention to overcoming these obstacles.
Here’s to you and your team’s success as you embark on your management role!
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
About the author
Anne Marie Cooley is a Management Services Professional with 25+ years of experience helping others succeed by finding their strengths!
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