4 Common Mistakes New Managers Make | TechWell

4 Common Mistakes New Managers Make

A woman holding a white mug reading “Like a boss,” photo by Brooke Lark

Making the transition into a management role is a huge step—but also one fraught with opportunities to make mistakes. Having an inkling of some of the more common mistakes new managers make might help in avoiding them. Here are four mistakes to be on the lookout for as a new manager.

1. Attempting to change everything

New managers often immediately start changing policies, processes, responsibilities—you name it. They think that in order to show their ability to take charge, they have to do this, undo that, and fix everything, whether it’s broken or not.

It’s actually much better to start by sitting back, observing how things are done, and identifying where adjustments might help, then slowly, gradually introduce new ideas one at a time. When employees have a new manager, they tend to hold their collective breath for fear of everything changing. Eliminating that fear can go a long way in gaining their trust.

2. Being a boss—especially a bossy boss—instead of a leader

Issuing orders, mandates, and directives is guaranteed to get you off to a rough start. So is micromanaging, or standing over people and telling them how to do every little thing. A manager who kicks things off with a command-and-control style will be poorly positioned to gain the trust of the team, and pulling back from that approach, once having used it, is awkward. Managing employees means guiding them in the right direction, offering support and feedback, and clearing the path so they can do their best work.

3. Trying to be pals with your employees

Most managers would rather be liked than disliked. But becoming best friends with those you’re managing is not the way to do it. As manager, you need to be in a position to make tough decisions that not everyone will cheer about. By being open and direct, you will earn their respect without becoming their BFF.

True, this can be a challenge if you were promoted over your coworkers and are now their manager. In that case, it’s all the more important to create some distance so that you can build your credibility and authority as their manager.

4. Taking credit for the efforts of the team

As a new manager, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that you deserve kudos when the team achieves a goal. But there’s nothing that will demotivate a team like their manager taking credit for their accomplishments.

By contrast, giving them full credit for their efforts is a huge morale booster. This is a big change for new managers. No longer are you the individual contributor who can earn praise and recognition for your accomplishments; as manager, you’re the one who can heap praise and recognition on others. I found doing so one of the most satisfying parts of being a manager.

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