Vicki has over 20 years of experience in managing small and large groups over a wide span of disciplines. She is currently working on an e-book for New Managers. Below is an excerpt from the book.
Management 101: The Basic “Do’s” for all New (and established!) Managers
Your first step into management is a tremendous boost to your self-esteem! Whoever the powers-that-be are in your working life, they have just recognized you as a leader. Congratulations! It’s a great step in your career!
As wonderful as that feeling is, it also comes with the expectation that you will get the job done. And it won’t be long before you are asking yourself: “Exactly how do I do that?” Take a deep breath, because you will soon find that going into management is not like stepping into the next grade at school. There are no instructors or course guides. Very few employers offer training for their new (or established!) managers. If you happen to work for an employer who does offer training, it probably will not be as helpful as you need. There is no one-size-fits-all for managing people.
To make it even more scary, those first few weeks or months you have that title, may very well set the tone for the entire time you have that particular management job. And 9.9 times out of 10, you will be setting that tone without the help of a mentor, guide or roadmap.
However, there are some basic rules you can follow in order to be successful—or at the very least to keep from shooting yourself in the foot before you even have a chance to show what you can do. These simple “do’s” and “don’ts” may seem very obvious, but you would be surprised how many new managers fail to follow them, or how difficult they can be to follow when you are caught up in dealing with staff and peers, which is a task every manager faces on a daily basis.
Below is a simple list of the basic “do’s” that every new manager needs to know, and are very rarely told:
1. Learn to minimize the use of the word “I”. There is a reason for that old saying: there is no “i” in the word “team”. When a manager, at any level, speaks to staff or at large meetings, and constantly uses the word “I”, the audience always takes notice. There are a lot of other great pronouns that work just as well, and have a much more positive impact on your staff. Practice using “we”, “us” and “ours” on a regular basis. It helps foster teamwork at best, and at worst—avoids the impression that you are grabbing credit for everything, or feel you are the only expert around.
2. Let the staff know that your door is open—and then follow-up by keeping it open for a reasonable number of hours during the day. “Open” is good. “Always open” may not work for you, depending on how much work you need to get done without interruption and how many staff members report to you. Do not say “my door is always open” if it isn’t always going to be open. But you should definitely have that door open more often than it is closed. It will let your staff know that you are accessible and will make time for them.
3. Let your staff know, on a regular basis, that creative ideas are not confined to people with “management” titles. You need to say those words, but you also need to believe them too! Communication and process improvement can, and often does, come from all levels of the organization, and you should make it clear that you welcome any positive suggestions.
4. Practice whatever technique works for you to teach you to listen first, and think before you open your mouth. More marriages have ended up in divorce court because this simple rule was not followed. It’s a safe bet that just as many, if not more, management careers have ended in failure for the same reason.
5. Most important: Do get out of your office! Many great CEO’s make a practice of getting out and doing a regular “walk about”, or going to the office of their reporting staff rather than always making them walk to theirs. It’s an excellent habit to get into at any management level, but especially for new managers. It keeps you accessible, especially for staff who may not be comfortable walking into your office no matter how much your door is open.
Keep these 5 simple “do’s” in front of you, and practice them regularly. If you follow them, your new management career will be off to a great start!
Next Management 101 article: The Basic “Don’ts” for New ManagersShare