You finally got that promotion, and you feel awesome! You spent the weekend celebrating with family and friends, but it’s Sunday night, and Monday is only a few hours away. Congratulations, manager, now it’s time to get to work.
Tomorrow you will begin a new chapter in your personal and professional life. Your actions and decisions will determine your opportunities for years to come. Will you rise to the challenge? You sure hope so. Will you make mistakes? Definitely. Let’s go over a few common new manager mistakes, so you can learn from others’ misfortune and come in ahead of the game.
New managers often make assumptions about both the business and their place in it. Yes, you have an idea in your mind about what your job will be like … but that’s probably not the reality … at least entirely. And, while there’s nothing wrong with going in with expectations, those ideas must be pliable. The mistake comes when a manager refuses to adjust his or her perspective based on the reality he or she encounters. Similar to a military officer issuing orders regardless of conditions on the ground, a manager who runs his or her operation regardless of reality will create a ripple of problems. Fixing those problems will soon consume the day.
New managers often accidentally or intentionally shoehorn their resources. Just because status quo makes you comfortable, doesn’t mean it will make you successful. If a resource – human or otherwise – presents a new or expanded opportunity, give that chance due consideration. Dismissing new or different out of hand will almost always translate into lost ground … because a competitor will end up doing what you thought ridiculous or impossible. The caveat here is to be careful not to accept every “new” idea. Workers may be waiting for a new regime to foist their crackpot scheme on the workplace … don’t be their enabler.
Take every battle you are offered. When you start in a new position, it shakes up the rest of the power structure in your organization. Other managers will challenge you. Employees will challenge you as well. Fight the battles you can win to hold your ground, but if a challenge doesn’t directly impact your status, let the other guy beat his chest. His distraction might offer you an opening to exploit. Stay focused on your goals.
Sometimes new managers fail to set specific goals. They come in full of excitement and enthusiasm but short on specifics. Your team will hate that. Sure, they will appreciate the enthusiasm, but you won’t get buy-in unless you give them something positive and specific they can grasp. Cheerleading is fun, but it’s the players with the clear goals who score the points.
New managers often fail to connect with their colleagues in other departments for a variety of reasons. The new responsibilities can seem all-compassing, or other departments, because they compete for budget dollars feel like adversaries. Don’t let these circumstances keep you from getting to know and building alliances with other managers. That may be the step that brings results the “other guy” you replaced failed to discover.
Roman Temkin is a real estate developer from Russia who currently lives in NYC.