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Five Tips for New Managers

New managers are challenged to do more with less and navigating the uncharted waters of dealing with a new team and superiors can be overwhelming. Your ability to rally your team together to accomplish common goals will determine how successful you are in your new managerial role. These five tips for new managers are designed to get you to quickly connect with your team, and they are also good long-term guidelines for success:

#1 Recognize Strengths and Weaknesses
#2 Coach and Train
#3 Set Achievable Goals
#4 Listen and Keep Learning Yourself
#5 Delegate

#1 Recognize Strengths and Weaknesses

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Assessing each individual’s strong suits and areas that need improvement is fairly straightforward, but it becomes hard when you are pairing people to work together. For instance, what if someone prefers verbal communication and someone else favors e-mail correspondence? If they collaborate, could this cause friction? Take time to discover things about each team member beyond the obvious. Determine what constitutes success to them and what areas they think they may need improvement in. Do they require a lot of interaction or are they capable of completing assignments without much supervision? “When you are getting to know members of your team, always keep in mind that you are having a dialogue and not a negotiation,” says career consultant Bert Kramer.
 
#2 Coach and Train
Ideally, your team is already competent, but training and coaching are practical ways to take your people to the next level. In addition to boosting productivity and efficiency, training has the added benefit of strengthening team communication and bonding. Performances may peak after training sessions and it’s essential to make sure levels don’t rise and then fall again. The answer is to combine training with coaching to reinforce skills and concepts learned. Follow-up sessions should include discussing goals and any problems the employee has in implementing the new knowledge. This sharpens the worker's skills and motivates the worker to keep applying what was learned.
 
#3 Set Achievable Goals
Sometimes new managers enter situations with overly-high expectations and set unrealistic goals. Setting attainable goals and striving to increase productivity should be one of the first things on your plate. First, assess existing productivity levels in your department and inform your team that you will be monitoring and measuring their performance. Clearly communicate the goals you set for them and get them involved in the goal setting process. This gives workers ownership in the common mission. Continually follow up on their progress and adapt these goals when necessary.
 
#4 Listen and Keep Learning Yourself
Being a manager is a two-way street. New managers can get caught up in taking initiative and establishing goals and forget the simple principle of listening to their employees. “Getting input from people on your team who have been around longer than you is a win-win situation,” says Kramer. “Treat them like they’re the boss and you can learn a lot about how things really work.” Although you are in a teaching role when you are leading a team, keep in mind that the best teachers continue to listen to their students and learn.
 
#5 Delegate
Handing over the reins can be tough for new managers and delegating is demanding because it involves communicating, leading, goal setting and motivating. Before you delegate be sure to determine why you are assigning something. Is it to lessen your workload or to develop an employee’s skills? Consider the scope of the task—is it in line with the employee’s capabilities and goals? Once you have decided to delegate grant them the authority to see the task through. “Being wishy-washy about delegating is sending the wrong message to your team members,” says Kramer. Effective delegation can save you countless hours of work, increase productivity and provide critical training for your employees.

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