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15 Tips for First-Time Management Success

15 New Manager Tips for SuccessFirst-time managers [1] have their work cut out for themselves. They need to gain the respect of their peers, as well as prove their worth in the department and to higher-ups. According to the Harvard Business Review [2], first-time managers fail 50 percent of the time in the first year. That’s why we asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

What’s the best tip you have for someone in a first-time management position?

New Manager Tips

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Be Open to Feedback

“Management roles come with a lot of “learn-as-you-go” lessons. For a first timer, my biggest piece of advice would be to be open to feedback [3] from both your superiors and from the team you’re managing. The best way to perfect your management style is to learn what does and doesn’t work for you, and a lot of that can be found in feedback from the people you work closest with.” ~ Leila Lewis [4], Be Inspired PR [5]



2. Take Everyone Out to One-on-One Lunches

“There is no more important an aspect of management than the human relationship component. Developing a trusted, transparent and close professional relationship is vital. Take everyone in your team out for a one-on-one lunch or coffee. They will appreciate the extra effort and you’ll also get to know each other better. Plus, it builds a fun and cohesive team culture.” ~ Mitch Gordon [6], Go Overseas [7]

3. Learn the Difference Between Poor Excuses and Real Reasons

“Your teammates will come to you with a plethora of issues, i.e. the reason why the team is doing badly. You have to pay attention to their reasons and figure out a solution. First differentiate between your team giving excuses, poor reasons and real reasons for performance. A solution to a poor reason will solve that one problem, however, a solution to a real reason will solve many problems.” ~ Cody McLain [8], SupportNinja [9]

4. Establish Clear Channels of Communication

“As a first-time manager, you will need (and should want) feedback. However, you do not want it to come at the cost of your authority. Set up an unambiguous framework for consistent and productive conversations [10] with the team you manage so they can feel heard. However, make it clear that as much as you value your team’s input, you are interested in insights from them, not directives.” ~ Ryan Wilson [11], FiveFifty [12]

5. Above All, Be Human First

“As a new manager it would be easy to focus on key performance metrics as the only measures of success, but having a mutually respectful working relationship will go a long way towards motivating team members to be successful which ultimately makes the manager successful. Being able to relate might be tough for a young new manager, but empathy towards the needs of others will go a long way.” ~ Tim Maliyil [13], AlertBoot [14]

6. Understand the Line Between Friendship and Business

“As a first-time manager, you’ll face uncomfortable situations with workplace friends. It’s unavoidable and you need to learn to keep business and friendship separate. It’s your job to not only coach and mentor, but to drive results for the company. Clearly communicate team goals, roles and responsibilities, and track results consistently. When push comes to shove, the numbers don’t lie.” ~ Drew Gurley [15], Redbird Advisors [16]

7. Teach Them to Delegate Early and Often

Delegation [17] is one of the hardest things to master for new managers and business owners. Teach new managers to delegate early and often, and to trust their team with the tasks they’re given. Learning this early can save a lot of headache later on, when delegation becomes more difficult, as managers become more comfortable overseeing every individual task themselves.” ~ Blair Thomas [18], eMerchantBroker

8. Don’t Knock Yourself if You Make Mistakes

“Since you are new at this, mistakes will happen and you will need to use these for learning lessons rather than beating up on yourself. It’s a learn-as-you-go job and something that will take time to master.” ~ Cynthia Johnson [19], Ipseity Media [20]

9. Be Consistent and Fair

“Taking on the responsibility of a first-time manager can be overwhelming. Employees will be curious what your managing style may be, and I always aim at being consistent and fair. Work hard and treat your employees with respect, and ask that they do the same in return.” ~ Abhilash Patel [21], Abhilash.co [22]

10. Set Expectations Clearly From the Start

“You’ll be learning about management together with your first direct reports. The pros are that you’ll be open to feedback and very flexible, and the cons are that there may be some first-timer hiccups along the way. It’s better to be explicit about this from the very start as opposed to the “fake it until you make it” approach, in order to foster an authentic, fruitful working relationship.” ~ Roger Lee [23], Captain401 [24]

11. Be Direct

“The initial transition from non-management to management can lead to impostor syndrome at first. It’s natural, but you need to remember that people respond best when manager-reportee expectations are set. As long as the chain of command is honored when it comes to work and deliverables, relationships don’t need to change much.” ~ Ajay Paghdal [25], OutreachMama [26]

12. Learn From Your Team

“Your team almost certainly knows more about their job than you do. If you approach management with a sense of humility, you’ll be a more effective manager than if you immediately try to dominate the team. You’re the leader and the buck stops with you, but every great leader knows when to take advice.” ~ Justin Blanchard [27], ServerMania Inc. [28]

13. Keep Your Ego in Check

“There is nothing worse than a first-time boss coming in full of ego. The truth is, you need your team by your side in order to succeed, and they won’t be there if you are unapproachable with them. Be open with them, earn their respect and your job will be worlds easier moving forward.” ~ Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution [29]

14. Don’t Be a Hypocrite

“Never ask something of your team that you are not willing to do or cannot do yourself. Getting your team to believe in you relies on your ability to lead by example. When assigning a task, provide examples of how you would execute that task or how you have executed a similar task in the past. Prove you are capable of completing the task and achieving the results you are expecting from your team.” ~ Duran Inci [30], Optimum7 [31]

15. Teach Them to Manage Your Expectations

“My No. 1 rule with our clients is that “We will always manage your expectations [32].” This means good or bad, they’ll know what was going on with the work they expect from us. Today, I hold my team to the same standards. Each person is given a set of outcomes to “own” and they manage my expectations on those outcomes. So far this is the best way I’ve found to manage a team with a meetingless structure.” ~ Nick Reese [33], BroadbandNow [34]
Planning Session [35] Photo via Shutterstock