Five New Manager Mistakes to Avoid

You have just been promoted…. Congratulations! Effective leaders and managers are at the heart of every successful organization, however many companies operate a ‘sink or swim’ approach to leadership and management development and may not provide support during the critical transition.  Think about your last promotion or new role, how did you prepare yourself for your new responsibilities?  What support did your company provide?

Almost every new leader and especially first-time managers will make mistakes along the way.  What are the most common mistakes, and more importantly how can you avoid them?

Mistake 1: Not spending enough time with your new boss. Few leaders take the time to get clarity on their new role beyond reading the job description (if you have one!).  Make sure to meet with your boss to ensure that you are both clear on;  their expectations of you and your role; their leadership style; their perspective on your team (who are the stars and who are the ones who may need additional support); their expectations on the opportunities for change (and what needs to stay the same!) and key results to be achieve.  In addition, this is an opportunity for you to share your expectations of your boss and what you need from them to ensure success, this is a partnership after all.

Mistake 2: Not focusing on developing relationships. Research and experience has shown that, as you progress through your career, it is the quality of your working relationships that has a greater impact on your success. Take the time to get to know your new team AND peers to understand how you can ensure their success (and they yours).

Mistake 3: Not discussing goals and objectives. Ensuring your team is clear and in agreement regarding the goals and priorities for the team.  You may know they are staying the same (if they are) don’t assume that your team is on the same page.  Keep your team informed of project goals, priorities, critical deadlines and how success will be measured.  Discuss how these fit into the company’s overall objectives.  Encourage questions and feedback to ensure any misunderstandings can be identified early.

Mistake 4: Changing too much and too soon.  In a desire to ‘put their stamp’ on things leaders may rush in and make changes to how things are done.  However, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just because something isn’t being done the way you would do it, doesn’t make it wrong.   Take time to understand your new role; observe the team and ensure you have the support of key stakeholders before implementing big changes.

Mistake 5: Failing to Delegate. Holding onto the tasks that got you promoted can be a particular challenge especially if you have been promoted internally, resulting in burnout, job dissatisfaction and frustration (of your team as well as yourself).   Delegating tasks will allow you the time to develop and focus on the NEW responsibilities and expectations of your role.

What new manager mistakes would you add to this list?