Making the leap into management can be all types of scary, exhilarating, fun, nerve-wrecking and powering. And so it should be.
Management requires a different skill set from what you may be used to. You need to be good with people, a leader who is able to motivate and energise a team, whilst keeping an eye on performance and strategy.
We often speak with the Careercake community who, after being told they’re being promoted to their first management role, come to us feeling a little out of their depth and in search of new manager tips. They love the idea of the move to management and the kudos that comes with it, but they often feel unprepared to deal with the people aspect. This seems to be the tricky bit.
“It’s all about the mindset,” says Mark Hendy, the latest expert to join Careercake. Mark’s an HR superstar and he joined us as part of our latest Let’s Talk series where he and Aimee discussed being a manager and the challenges that come with it in today’s business setting.
Here we share with you his take on the best new manager tips.
Q: What makes a great manager?
Mark: Every great manager is different and all have unique strengths and weaknesses. As a new manager, you’ll find your own way and you’ll learn lots of lessons, but a quicker way of developing into a great manager is to start with the right mindset. Many managers fail because of the approach they take to leadership, and their failure to adjust their leadership style if things aren’t working out. Some of the best managers I’ve seen are those that are first and foremost, human. They don’t try and become the old-fashioned my way or highway manager, but they treat people fairly and always look to improve personally.
Q: What would you expect their first 90 days to look like?
MH: I’d expect a new manager’s first 90 days to be all about discovery. Discovering the environment in which they’ll be working, discovering the people they’ll be working with and discovering their best way of leading and managing people. I’d expect them to spend the first 90 days with their eyes wide open, keeping an open mind and building relationships.
Relationship building is always important for long term success as the business world is all about connections and networks. The better connections you have with a wider network of people, the more resources you have access to and the more you are able to contribute to the success of the organisation.
Q: The CMI suggests that 70% of businesses do not provide management training to those they promote. Why do you think there’s a reluctance to invest in management training?
MH: Some businesses don’t provide management training because they don’t have the budgets, they don’t see it as a priority, or quite simply they don’t believe it to be important. But there are cost-effective ways of giving potential leaders skills to continuously develop. Workplace coaching and mentoring, e-learning and Careercake are great ways of cost-effectively developing leaders without breaking the bank.
Q: What would you suggest to a new manager they ask in their performance reviews to understand if they are doing a good job?
MH: The obvious questions such as ‘how do you think I’m performing’ are fine, but a more detailed and open conversation might come from asking a question that refers to a specific scenario. For example ‘When I recently dealt with the external supplier, was there anything I did particularly well or not so great that I could refine or do better?’
Or even something like ‘When I recently dealt with the conflict between my team members, I think there were other ways of dealing with it – can I have some feedback on how you think I did and whether you feel I could have done anything differently?’ Questions like this, really encourage line managers to think on a deeper and more practical level.
Q: What are the signs of a poor manager?
MH: Usually, a poor manager is someone who only has one style and it’s ineffective most of the time. Someone who won’t learn and develop and always thinks they know best.
Q: What’s one of your best new manager tips?
MH: Treat everyone with respect and fairness, even when people aren’t reciprocating it.
Q: What’s your go-to resource for learning more about management?
MH: I love reading blogs and watching videos like Ted Talks. I’ve also read some great books recently including the Neo-Generalist. I’m also quite partial to re-reading short-sharp management books like the One Minute Manager and ZAP.
Learn more about Mark and more new management tips in his Let’s Talk interview here.