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Ten tips for first-time managers

Office workers overlooking London

Taking on your first management role can be an exciting and nerve-wracking challenge. Although you have goals and accountability when working as part of a team, it’s a totally different situation when you become the key decision-maker and the responsibility for your team’s success is on your shoulders. Are you a first-time manager? Read this week’s blog to get some great tips…

1. Communicate

This is perhaps the most important tip we can give to any first-time manager. It’s vital that you share ideas in both directions: upwards to your boss, and downwards to your team. It’s your responsibility to create an open and transparent environment where company updates are communicated clearly and team problems are taken seriously and dealt with promptly.

2. Listen to your team

As a manager, the success of your department relies entirely on the people in it. And although you’re now their leader, your team members are often the subject experts and will have useful contributions to make. Make sure you take their feedback on board; it will help you to make better and more informed decisions as a manager, and it will also make your team feel valued.

3. Be confident

Don’t be afraid to actually lead your team! Although it can be intimidating to suddenly have the responsibility of making big decisions (particularly if they may have financial consequences), it’s a key part of your role. This is where the previous tip about listening to your team is particularly relevant; if you seek input from the subject experts in your team you’ll be able to make confident, informed decisions.

4. Build relationships

As with communication, it’s key to build relationships with those above you and those in your team. Personal relationships make everything run more smoothly, whether it’s requesting an extension on a deadline or asking for a favour. Interact with your team regularly and always make sure you give honest, fair feedback.

5. Own up to mistakes

We’re sure they won’t happen often, but when they do it’s important to own up to your errors. Being a manager isn’t about portraying yourself as a flawless leader, it’s about admitting when you made the wrong decision, and what you’re going to do about fixing it. And whatever you do, don’t ever shift the blame for a mistake you made onto your team!

6. Find a mentor

There are so many aspects to management that it can take many years to master the skills you’ll need. Mentoring is a great way for more experienced managers to share their knowledge while training up the leaders of the future. Your mentor can be anyone: your current manager, an experienced friend or anyone with the skills you feel you can learn from!

7. Understand your business

As a manager, you’ll be making decisions that affect your company’s future so it’s vital that you take the time to fully understand your business. Read company newsletters and training documentation, understand the financial goals of the company and learn as much as you can about your industry as a whole. This knowledge will equip you to make better and smarter decisions in the future.

8. Become a role model

As a manager, it’s your job to set the standard for the rest of your team. This means adhering to the company dress code, arriving on time and communicating professionally. If your team sees you acting in this way, they’re much more likely to copy your behaviour and follow these rules as well.

9. Know your own weaknesses

Nobody is perfect, and everyone has gaps in their knowledge. If you acknowledge your weaknesses (maybe you’re not as experienced with finances as you’d like to be? Or need to learn more about people management?) then you can start to eliminate them. Many companies will sponsor you to complete work-related training too, so see what your employer has to offer.

10. Get qualified!

The perfect way to address any weaknesses you feel you have (and also learn a whole host of other transferable management skills) is to get qualified! Our BA (Hons) Business and Management is 100% online and part-time, allowing you to fit your studies around work and family commitments. And you’ll cover a wide range of vital topics including Business and Management Skills, Introduction to Finance, Human Resource Management and many, many more.