You’ve had your business for some time. It’s been a great experience so far: you have clients, money, satisfaction, your friends and family admire you and you’ve actually started growing as well.
The time has come to get some help for your business. You’ve found the right person, and you’ve hired them.
You’re now a manager! A whole new world has suddenly opened up, and as well as feeling proud of yourself and where your business is going, you may also feel overwhelmed; you’ve never been anybody’s manager before, and you never had to deal with challenges that started to appear.
It may only be one person you’ve hired, but it means your role has changed – and without having any proper training, it might be a bit hard at first.
Here are some of the most common mistakes new managers make, and the best ways to avoid them – so you don’t have to learn on your own:
Being too friendly
Yup, that’ s a common one. We all like to be liked, it’s natural. However, if you’re your subordinate’s best friend, how can you stay objective and make sure they perform their duties well? Being too close leads to trouble down the road. What if you need to fire them one day? Don’t make it more difficult for yourself from the start. Keep your distance, without being stand-offish.
You hired them for a reason; this reason being you can’t do everything yourself. Start delegating your tasks and focus on your role as a manager. Only then you’ll see your company grow. Your time is meant to be spent on moving forward, so think about the bigger picture and prioritise. By not delegating the “doing” parts of the job enough, you’re actually not developing your people – which will backfire one day, as you need a capable team to take the pressure off you. Give them a chance to show you what they can do.
Not defining goals
You have your vision and goals for your business. Your staff need to know exactly what they need to be doing to help you achieve them, as otherwise projects might not be finished on time, and they may not prioritise tasks appropriately.
It’s your job to communicate the strategy to your staff and set related goals for them, aligned with business goals. Ideally, you should always make sure they are SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed – and then everyone knows where they stand, and what’s expected of them.
Micromanaging – being too ‘hands on’
There comes a time when you just won’t know every single detail about your company. It’s growing, remember? To keep it growing, you’ll need to let go of asking your staff every single detail of the project they’re doing. Trust them. If Mr. Brown hasn’t called yet to discuss something, it’s ok, let your staff deal with it. The more freedom you give them, the more confident and responsible your staff will become.
And conversely, being too ‘hands off’
However, not knowing what’s going on in the company completely might backfire if one of your staff doesn’t do their job properly. Keep your balance on how you manage your people. Don’t interfere too much, but likewise, don’t leave your staff by themselves, because they will need your support and reassurance. Find your balance.
Feeling you need to ‘know it all’ and have all the answers
You just simply don’t. You don’t know everything and you also don’t NEED to know everything. That’s why you hire people, so you can have a team full of experts in their own fields. We’re all only human and we’re work in progress. We keep learning and once we acknowledge that, we stop feeling insecure in our role as a new manager. It’s ok to say ‘I don’t know’ and it’s ok to ask for help.
More talking than listening
There’s a danger of not listening enough to your people. If you think it’s all about you as you’ve become a manager now, you’re mistaken. It’s all about your people, team and business. You’re the facilitator and coach, and your responsibility is to set the strategy, and develop and support your staff. Don’t worry – it will pay off in the end. If you listen carefully, you’ll know what your people need, what motivates them, and it will give you an answer to how to manage them best. You’ll make your own life easier.
Shying away from those difficult conversations
Feedback and conversations with your staff are crucial and should be common practice in your company. As a new manager it’s natural to feel apprehensive when giving negative feedback, however if it’s not done in timely manner and is postponed, it brings problems, as things will only get worse.
Critical conversations, contrary to belief, do not turn people against you as a manager. Your staff actually want to know if they’re doing their job right or wrong, and if they’re going in the right direction. It’s your job to help them understand their role, and your expectations better.
The rule is always to feed-forward and it’s crucial to master the art of difficult conversations.
Positive feedback should be given early and often, when earned.
Follow these simple guidelines, and your journey into management will be far less bumpy. Remember the key to success is always communication – the more you encourage open, two-way dialogue with your team, the better. Good luck! And if you hit a rough patch, just contact us for advice and guidance.