27 Nov 2017

So you’re a new manager…now what?

Becoming a manager can be exciting and scary. Even though you’ve shown how successful you can be as an individual contributor, you are now tasked with ensuring the success of employees under you.  So, where do you start? In this post, I’m going to review some of the major topics that all new or first time managers should think about when the big promotion happens.

Understand your strengths and weakness and treat yourself with respect.

Get to know and understand yourself.  By owning your strengths, you can leverage them to support the success of your team and solve problems.

How do you talk to yourself? For example if you made a mistake at work, would you think to yourself, “I’m such a dope and can’t seem to do anything correctly?”

If you do talk to yourself in that tone, ask yourself if you would say that to someone on your team if they made a mistake. Obviously not right?

Treat yourself with the same respect you would for others. One key difference between top performers and average ones is self-confidence.

Gather information on your team and organization

When a new manager is brought in for a team, it’s easy for that team to feel a little uneasy.  They may be nervous about your leadership style, expectations, and overall philosophy.

That’s why it is so important to get to know your employees by building rapport.  Be patient with each one and transparent about your values.

Once you feel like they have a good initial understanding of your style, it’s time for you to listen! Active listening and making your employees feel heard is one of the most important tools you have.

Connect, motivate, and engage

The three keys to motivated and engaged teams are Relationships, Culture, and Opportunity. To build strong relationships, you must build trust, positivity, fairness, and autonomy for the team.

The culture you as a manager should develop is leading by example, being transparent, and rewarding great performance.  Lastly, you should work with each individual on the team to map out opportunities for career growth.

This will keep them engaged and excited to work toward their goals. By establishing this coaching relationship, you will keep the lines of communication open within your team and foster a strong feedback culture.

Find your maxims and encourage your team to find theirs

A maxim is a quote or object that when thought about or seen, brings you back to feeling a certain way and shows you why this feeling is important. Think of it as a reset button for you.

For me as the writer of this post, one of my strongest maxims is nothing more than a small stick that I keep in my office. It reminds me of playing fetch with my dog and walking with my family in the park.

When I am stressed at work, looking at this stick and thinking about this helps me maintain balance and reminds me why I work hard at my job each day. As a new manager, I recommend thinking about your maxims for maintaining balance and motivating you at work each day.

Once you’ve found your maxims, doing this exercise with your team will help them understand their inner motivations and lead to a happier, more productive team.


Becoming a new manager is no easy task.  It takes time, effort, motivation, and an ability to understand others.

But if you work hard at the emotional and interpersonal side of professional relationships, you will create a strong foundation from which your team can succeed on. And if your team is successful, you are successful.

Now, what are your thoughts on becoming a new manager? Or what was your strategy? Tell us in the comment section.