If you or a loved one has recently gotten a new job or promotion into management, congratulations. Now, before you embark on your new career adventure, there are some tips from the experts that may help in avoiding some of the common pitfalls of starting out with new managerial duties.
Deputy Managing Editor and Online Executive Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Alan Murray, penned a leadership guidebook, “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management” which offers step-by-step procedures on effective management techniques. Not only does Murray offer up excellent professional advice on how to develop a dynamic leadership style, he also provides insight on what are the biggest challenges for a new manager. Three, in particular, stand out:
Misunderstanding The Purpose Of Power – Rather than considering one’s self as the new “boss” in town and stiffly wielding authority over subordinates, understand that a manager is enmeshed in work relationships between subordinates with the goal of guiding a team through conflict and toward productivity and achievement. A manager’s role is interdependent upon subordinates for success.
Forgetting To Earn Respect – New managers should not expect that the moment they step into their new position that subordinates are going to jump the moment that they bark an order. In fact, particularly talented team members, who enjoyed some level of independence by a previous manager who recognized their skill, may very well ignore authoritarian demands by a new manager, resulting in a power struggle. An effective management leader takes the time to get to know each member of a team, noting their particular strengths and weaknesses, while at the same time displaying management competence and earning respect.
Avoiding Change – Many new managers focus on keeping everything running like a well-oiled machine, often blindly following the protocols of those who have gone before them, whether these methods are effective or not. A strong managerial leader will challenge a process and initiate change in order to improve and enhance performance and productivity of his team.
Murray’s book is packed with ideas and descriptive management ideas, compiled from the experience of modern leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds. Often, on the surface, it seems like being a manager should be a breeze. I mean, really, what does the job description really entail? Making decisions, delegating duties, approving special requests, overseeing the progress of projects, that all sounds about right. However, the most important and unpredictable factor that can really throw a kink in all of your best managerial plans is people.
Yes, as a manager your greatest asset is also your trickiest liability, people. You will also be guiding a team of people. You will be developing strategies that will result in team members putting their best foot forward and giving it all they’ve got. You will be putting out fires between team members who are highly competitive or simply just don’t like each other. It’s a lot like being a parent.
So, as a manager you also must learn to be an encourager. At the same time you must also be worthy of respect in case you have to be firm and really put your foot down. And, if things get really complicated and you just don’t know what to do, call an expert manager with years of experience. Call your mother.