According to Robert S. Rubin, professor of management and entrepreneurship in the Driehaus College of Business and the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, the most important thing for first-time managers to remember is that management is the process of getting things done through others. This isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Rubin suggests that first-time managers incorporate the following six tips to ensure success:
Set Clear Expectations Early
Many new managers fall into the “settling-in trap” whereby they wait a considerable amount of time before setting expectations with employees. Don’t wait three months or even three weeks to jump right in and establish expectations. Hold individual meetings with every direct report within the first week to set expectations about performance goals and professional conduct. Your first 90 days are ripe with goodwill—don’t squander it.
Get To Know Your People and Show Appreciation
You have no shot at influencing others unless you build mutual liking. Uncover genuine similarities and show respect for the contributions of others. Ignore any reports from prior managers about your direct reports or teams. Draw your own conclusions.
Celebrate Early Wins
Look for opportunities to provide positive feedback at the first signs of your direct reports’ success. Demonstrate that you are paying attention to their contributions.
Whatever you do, don’t fake it. Every great manager makes mistakes. Show people you’re open to their feedback and learn from mistakes.
Underpromise and Overdeliver
Always do what you say you will do, and never make promises you can’t keep— it will ruin your credibility and trust.
Don’t Overcompensate for Differences in Age or Experience
When you are managing people older or more experienced, don’t overinflate your authority as a way to demonstrate who is in charge. Remember, you need your people more than they need you.
This piece was adapted and edited from DePaul Business Exchange.