7 Tips on Being a First-Time Manager


Finding out that you’re being promoted to, or hired for a management position is a great feeling. You feel confident in your own abilities, excited that you’ve been given this opportunity, and proud of all the work you’ve done to make it to this point. But after the initial excitement wears off, the fear sets in. The fear that you will mess something up and everyone will know, the fear that you aren’t actually good enough for the job you have. Here are a few tips to help you combat those feelings of imposter syndrome, and hopefully feel more confident in your role!

1.  Remember – you were hired for a reason

It can be easy to doubt yourself, or convince yourself that you are not actually good enough for the job you were hired to do. But you have to remember that the people who hired you thought you were good enough, and that’s enough.

2. Put in the extra effort at the beginning

Especially if you were an outside hire for a company. Take the time to learn how everything you manage actually works – not only will this help you feel more confident, but it will give confidence to your staff that you actually know what you’re doing, and allow them to feel more comfortable going to you for help.

3. Take the time to get to know your employees

This is especially important if you’re managing a small team. Take the time to learn the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, what’s most important to them in their work, what the social dynamic of your team is. If your employees see you actively engaging in getting to know them better, they will appreciate it and remember it for the future.

4. Ask for feedback EARLY

And not just from those you report to – ask your team how they think you’re doing, and if there is anything you could be doing that would make their jobs easier. By asking your team for their opinion on how you’re doing, you’re letting them know that it’s okay for them to come to you with problems later on.

5. Give the credit, take the blame

Your team, whether you like it or not, is a reflection of you. So when your team does something right, make sure the higher-ups above you know how much work your team put in. But when your team messes up, know that it’s your job to take the heat from upper-management.

6. Be consistent (in everything!)

There is nothing more worrisome than a boss who can’t get their sh*t together. Alternatively, there is nothing more reassuring than a new manager coming in and already having an established schedule that they actually stick to. Set up weekly one-on-ones with your staff. Put aside an hour at the end of every day to catch up on emails, and make sure you actually get to all of them. Show up to work at the same time everyday. People are creatures of habit, and when your employees see your consistency, they will trust you more.

7. Remember – your team should be just as strong when you’re not there

This is the golden rule. A team that can only function when you’re around to supervise is not a successful team. Give your team the tools to do their job well, and everything will flourish. Take pride in the fact that everyone and everything can keep running smoothly while you’re not there – it’s a sign that they have strong management the rest of the time.

Whether you’re stepping into your first management role, or even taking on more supervisory responsibilities at work, these helpful reminders will keep you on track and flourishing in your new position.

For more early career resources, be sure to check out the Incubator.