First-time managers often run into problems they are unprepared to face. They may be qualified to do their jobs, but without experience, might not always know how to respond to certain situations. Training is crucial in helping them solve some of the most common issues.
Three Common Challenges for First-Time Managers
It’s important for new managers to navigate the challenges they face in order to succeed. Here are three common problems new leaders face…and how they can be dealt with.
- Learning how to lead. The majority of new managers have been promoted as a result of a proven work ethic…but just because they have excelled as individuals doesn’t mean they have the skills needed to be effective leaders. They may have been top performers before, but suddenly they are being asked to coach, engage, and discipline others—tasks that are probably foreign to them. This can result in stress as they find their footing. With a new role comes new responsibilities, but without leadership management training, first-time managers may struggle. The best way to prepare yourself for this new position is to think like a leader by reassessing the skills and talents that catapulted you into your new role and focusing on the ones that can help you be a good leader. It’s important to remember that you are bound to make mistakes in the beginning; learn from them and move on, and you will be poised to grow.
- Managing former coworkers. One of the most difficult aspects new leaders face is managing the people they once worked alongside of. This can lead to conflict on both sides, especially if some of those colleagues were competing for the same management job. As a new manager, you don’t have to give up friendships you have formed with your staff, but remaining collegial can be delicate when you must also assert authority. The best approach is to confront the situation head-on by addressing it with your team. Be honest while letting them know what your expectations are in order to eliminate any potential awkwardness. In order to earn their trust, be true to who you are. Don’t change the way you behave; by remaining authentic, your new subordinates should quickly get used to your new role and support you moving forward.
- Developing leadership skills. Believe it or not, nobody is a “natural-born leader.” Even the best managers have honed their skills over the years to earn the trust and respect of their staff. Regardless of how qualified you are, you won’t be expected to step into your new role on day one with all the skills required to successfully perform your job. Training is a necessary step in identifying your skills gaps (it’s okay, we all have them) and signing up for a program that can help provide you with the knowledge and tools you currently lack, be they technical or “human” skills. Shoring up your weaknesses will help you build relationships with your team members and enable you to treat each other with mutual respect. This will help you—and your team—reach your full potential.