Whether you are a seasoned manager who has landed a new team, or someone brand new to management itself, keeping things fresh and dynamic is a good way to move forward. Here are seven great tips for new management best practice.
Acknowledge the new situation
You might now be managing people who were formally equal colleagues, or perhaps you’ve taken over a troubled team from another hand. Don’t paste over the difficult stuff, if you need to have a conversation then get it done. Be polite but be honest so everyone knows where they stand; ambiguity over relationships can lead to conflict if not properly addressed.
Make trust the centre point
According to Skills Consulting Group’s most recent Work Wellbeing Index, employees who trust their managers have better wellbeing and are more productive. Schedule a series of one-to-one meetings with your direct reports. Find out what their aspirations are, and come up with a plan to support them. Speak openly with your team about decision making processes or what is needed. Be polite but honest – they will respect you for it.
Hone those communication skills
Make sure your team know what the project goal is, and the plan to get there. Set up a way to communicate internally as a group, keep track of workflow and publish clear deadlines. Most importantly, make sure you are approachable so if your team don’t understand, they feel comfortable asking.
This one is particularly important if you are new to the moniker ‘manager’, it can actually be quite easy to forget you’ve been given a team. Don’t write a ‘to-do’ list, write a ‘who-do’ list, and start giving jobs out to your people. Your role is to support them to complete those tasks, not to micro-manage or takeover.
Hunt down some quick wins
These can be a false economy so use them sparingly, but there is nothing like an immediate success to boost morale among a new team.
Make sure you give feedback where and when it is needed. If it is personal, then make a time to speak to your direct report in private. Remember, feedback is a two-way street. Ask your team for feedback as well, both on the projects themselves and also your management style. Make sure there is a way this can be delivered anonymously and take it on board with an open mind and an open heart.
Manage up – and down
Managing up is about being as effective as you can be, adding value to your company. It helps you maintain a productive working relationship with your own boss, even if they’re not the easiest character to get along with – and protects your team from unnecessary oversight. Managing up isn’t about sucking up. You can disagree with your supervisor or go to them with problems, you just need to do it in a way that demonstrates you are helpful to the organisation. Equally, you need to manage down by not becoming the boss you’d hate to have. Don’t nit-pick, micromanage or be inflexible. Take responsibility for your team and encourage team responsibility, support employee decisions and model encouraging relationships.
IMNZ’s Elevate programme can help new and old management hands develop leadership skills.