3 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Managers

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3 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Managers

Being a first-time manager can be a daunting task. Entering a managerial role for the first time requires patience, good communication skills, and an understanding of the expectations from those you manage. To help any first-time managers successfully navigate through this new position, here are three pieces of advice:

Tip #1: Establish clear lines of communication

Good communication is essential in any professional setting, but especially as a manager. To ensure that expectations are clear and tasks are completed on time, it’s important to set up consistent and specific channels of communication between yourself and your employees. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done and how they must go about doing it.

One way you can get off to a fast start when it comes to establishing clear lines of communication is by setting up weekly team meetings to discuss current projects and expectations. Weekly team meetings also provide a platform for everyone to voice their thoughts and address any issues that need to be resolved.

You could also do deep dives in individual 1-on-1 meetings with your direct reports. They give you the chance to get to know your direct reports on a more personal level. During your meetings, you’ll be able to understand their strengths and weaknesses better and provide valuable feedback that can help them grow and develop professionally. Additionally, 1-on-1s are great for tackling any issues that may arise between employees or in the work environment more generally. They also allow direct reports to have a forum where they feel comfortable sharing ideas or proposing solutions.

Holding weekly team meetings and recurring 1-on-1s with direct reports isn’t just for creating open lines of communication, it can also help create focus time within your week. During these meetings, team members can come together to discuss any potential issues or ideas that may require further attention. This allows for everyone to be on the same page and reduces the amount of time you’d otherwise have to spend reaching out individually. Furthermore, having a dedicated meeting time each week will reduce distractions during other tasks, leading to better productivity for you and your direct report.

Additional Resource: E42: How to Run 1-on-1 Meetings Your Direct Reports Actually Enjoy

Tip #2: Show appreciation

A little recognition goes a long way in the workplace. Whether it’s saying thank you after receiving a report or giving out bonus incentives for hard work—showing your employees that you recognize their efforts can foster an environment of motivation and trust between them and yourself.

When it comes to showing appreciation, new managers can use tactics such as providing verbal recognition for a job well done, giving out bonus incentives when appropriate, and hosting team-building activities to create a positive work atmosphere.

As for showing appreciation, Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White developed the “5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” as a framework to understand how individuals prefer to receive appreciation and recognition in a professional setting. These languages are based on their earlier work on the “5 Love Languages,” adapted for the workplace context. We recommend considering these different options and offering a range of different types of appreciation to your direct reports.

Here is a summary of the 5 Languages of Appreciation:

    1. Words of Affirmation: People who appreciate this language value verbal recognition and praise. They feel most appreciated when they receive spoken or written affirmations, compliments, and encouragement for their efforts and contributions.
    2. Acts of Service: Individuals with this appreciation language feel valued when others help them with tasks or provide practical support. Actions such as assisting with workload, offering assistance, or going the extra mile to make their work easier are meaningful to them.
    3. Quality Time: Some individuals prefer spending quality time with their colleagues or superiors to feel appreciated. This means having meaningful interactions, one-on-one discussions, or team-building activities that foster a sense of connection and camaraderie.
    4. Tangible Gifts: For those who value tangible gifts, physical tokens of appreciation, such as gift cards, small presents, or symbolic rewards, are most meaningful. These items serve as tangible reminders of recognition and gratitude.
    5. Physical Touch: This language involves appropriate physical gestures like handshakes, pats on the back, or other non-invasive forms of touch. While this language is less common in the workplace due to professional boundaries, it can still be used in some situations.

When you make sure that all team members feel valued for their work will help build relationships and create a positive work atmosphere. Showing appreciation in the workplace doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming – taking small steps such as acknowledging achievements or celebrating milestones goes a long way towards creating a positive working environment where everyone feels valued and motivated!

Additional Resource: Episode 173 – Must Know: The Languages of Appreciation at Work – With Dr. Paul White

Tip # 3: Help your directs build their skills & progress toward their career goals

As a leader, take an interest in each employee’s career development by offering tailored guidance on how to improve their individual strengths or weaknesses. Taking time to focus on the development of these skills helps build loyalty among your staff as well as promote growth within the company in the long run.

When helping their direct reports build individual skills, new managers can offer mentorship sessions to discuss career goals and development plans. 1-on-1 meetings are a great time to do this because it gives both parties a chance to discuss individual goals and career aspirations. During these meetings, have an open discussion about where employees want to be in the future and what steps they need to take in order to get there. Plus, talk about your directs’ strengths and use the time to go over challenging tasks that stretch their comfort zone.

Be transparent about promotions, raises, and job openings within the company. This provides employees with an understanding of how they can advance within the organization and gives them an idea of what qualifications or experience is necessary for higher positions down the line. Encourage directs to take relevant courses or workshops as part of their growth plan and provide any necessary resources they need in order to do so. Offer online classes, seminars, workshops, or other learning opportunities that can provide valuable skills related to the industry they work in or directly with their job function. Additionally, consider providing mentorships or pairing more experienced staff members with new hires to increase knowledge transfer between departments within the organization.

By taking small steps such as regularly meeting with each direct report or developing clear pathways for advancement within your company, you can create an atmosphere where employees feel supported and motivated towards achieving their career goals!

Turn your 1-on-1’s from time wasters into the most valuable meeting with your directs with this course, “How to Hold Successful 1-on-1 Meetings.”

Overall, these 3 tips should give first-time managers more confidence in transitioning into the role successfully while also helping them create strong working relationships with their team members and management alike. In conclusion, developing clear communication channels, showing appreciation towards achievements, and building individual competencies can go a long way in ensuring successful management practices overall!

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