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One of the most difficult adjustments when moving into a management role is learning how to be on a different level as your peers. Your buddies, your confidants, your secret coffee-break complainers, you just get each other. And now you're up with the other management team members, trying to figure out how to balance reputability and likability. You want them to be a little afraid of you, but you also want them to genuinely laugh at your jokes.

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We understand, it's not easy. In our last post, we talked a bit about the importance of establishing a routine, paying attention to the Big Picture, and why you sometimes have to pretend you're on board with some tough decisions. Today we'll talk about how to work with your employees in a way that will keep them motivated and productive and still make them think you're kind of fun to be around. We swear it's possible.

4. Listen to your employees.

Know what makes them tick, what gets them excited, and everything in between. Tasks that are un-liked, irrelevant or impervious to a position, or tasks that keep getting pushed to the back burner, are clearly not motivating that employee. Make sure the work is being distributed appropriately and that you're utilizing your team's strengths, and spend some time getting to know how each individual works. If one person benefits from discussing things in person but another prefers written communication, honor that. It's not their job to cater to your management style, but vice versa. In order to retain the best employees, we have to be cultivating an environment that makes our employees the best they can be. Playing to everyone's strengths and working in ways that create ideal everyday working environments will take your team far.

5. Set expectations. 

Communication is key: tell your employees what you expect, right from the get-go. If you like to be kept in the loop on every detail in a project, say so. Tell them if you prefer to be more hands off but expect the work to be done when it's due. Be explicitly clear about the way the team will work together, what your involvement will be, and how your team's progress should expect to be measured. So much of a manager's success is dependent on setting the bar at a certain height and helping your employees hit that bar by giving them clear directions. Think about it – no one would thrive in a workplace where everything always seems to be up in the air. If an employee knows what to expect, then it's no surprise that there are consequences when goals aren't met. Which brings us to our next tip..

6. Manage performance.

Another difficult part of hitting the management level is the dreaded discussions about an employee's performance. If a team member isn't stepping up as much as they should, or if other team members are covering ground for someone, it's easy to want to wait it out, but this must be remedied quickly. As the old saying goes: give him an inch and he'll take a yard. Hold someone accountable for their work at all times, because once it slips, it's all downhill.

Now, it doesn't need to be a serious conversation every time, but a simple check-in about how things are going, and asking how you can help, will clue someone in that you're noticing they're slipping a bit. A later conversation can address specifics, and might be followed up by a readjustment of responsibilities or re-instituted goals for the employee. It's ok to readjust expectations throughout the year (we all have unproductive times), but the burden of this person's workload shouldn't be falling to the rest of your team's shoulders.

7. Go ahead, let your personality show through.

You are human. And while your employees are not your best buddies, it's great if they actually like you as a person, . Once you've established yourself as a leader, don't be afraid to let a little bit of your freak flag fly. Well, maybe leave the full-on freak flag at home, but let your personality come through a little bit. Common interests will bond your team together, so go ahead and mention your upcoming trip to Europe, or talk about the yoga class you've been taking, the baseball game you went to last night, or the new TV show you can't stop binge watching. Once the respect is there, it's ok to garner a little attention towards you as a person. Your team will like you in no time.

Give these tips a try, and we know you'll be reporting back in no time with a lean, mean, productive and enjoyable team!

Posted: 6/27/2018 11:52:41 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


As you know, we care about your career here at CM Access. It's never been about your next job, but about the next step on the professional staircase you're building yourself. So, it's fairly common for us to be finding candidates a new position that is a level up from their current job. What does that mean? Lots of first-time managers!

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The idea that employees are constantly paving their way on the road toward roles of authority is great news, but while they are often stellar employees in their original positions, even the most ambitious workers can find themselves fumbling in a position of power. The major problem arising is that most of these people are untrained, with little to no investment in their skills from their employer.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers with under 100 employees provided only 12 minutes of manager training per six month period. Organizations with between 100 and 500 employees only offered half of that in the same time period. How is a new manager expected to survive without the support of her company?

We can't give you a crash course in management training, but we can at least get you started. Here are some tips for killing it this year, your first time at the big desk.

1. Emphasize the Big Picture.

Think of yourself as a coach – it's your job to create an environment of productivity and motivation, so clue your team in. What is the reputation you want your team to have, company-wide? What sorts of achievements do you anticipate in the coming year and what should your employees consider to be their greatest contribution to these goals? Setting the scene for a season of success will keep the finish line in sight, increasing accountability and improving an employee's sense of autonomy.

2. Be the filter.

You already act as the middle man between the Higher Ups and your employees, but you need to be as much of a connector as a filter between the two. Don't blame your boss for decisions that have to be made, however unpopular, and own the successes and failures when there is any issue with your own team's unreached milestones. It will be challenging to make sure no one gets thrown under the bus when you're involved, but you ultimately earn respect and gratitude from both sides of the table. The only time to pass along info about a specific team member? When they have a stellar idea that should be taken seriously. Let them get the credit.

3. Establish a structure.

One of the most difficult parts of being a first-time manager is being left out of The Group – you're no longer one of the lower level team, you can't complain about management or mentally check out the second the clock strikes 5. You are, in a way, a representative of the company, and you have to embrace the changes that come with that. Many new managers adopt an easygoing attitude, thinking that being a Fun Boss is the best way to be seen favorably by their team . What they'll find is that it's easy to get high fives but much more difficult to earn respect.

So, get a structure in place. You are the boss, and it's your job to keep everyone on the right track. Human beings crave routine – set up weekly meetings, develop systems that will keep your productivity machine running, and keep projects moving along at a steady speed. If your employees aren't used to a structure it can initially be an adjustment, but will bring success in the long run.

More tips for new managers, coming in our next post!

 

Posted: 6/27/2018 11:24:04 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments