The New Manager’s Guide to Being a New Manager

It’s a classic situation. You’re really good at what you do in your job, so your boss decides to promote you to become a manager of a team of other people. One minute you’re working with a team of peers and the next minute, you’re expected to be managing them! How do you deal with this change and quickly get settled into your new role?

Your work-life is going really well. You enjoy your job and you’re hitting your targets. Then it all changes. You leave the office on a Friday afternoon as a member of the team and return on Monday morning as the manager, often of the same team of people with whom you were working. All of a sudden, you’re their boss and no longer their peer.

Learning to become a manager does not happen by magic over the weekend, with people learning a new set of skills, ready to use when they start their new role. Many new managers expect to be able to jump right into their new role, while their managers want them to do the same. They are also expected to be able to start producing great results straight away. So why doesn’t this happen? Why do so many new managers struggle when they are promoted?

One Job or Two?


I often ask new managers, “How much of your old job did they take away when they made you a manager?” The answer is usually none! New managers are very often expected to carry on doing a great job in sales, marketing, consulting – or whatever they’ve been doing for some time – and to also take on the management role. They are frequently given little or no management training. For some reason, it seems to be assumed that just because you’re great at what you do, you’ll automatically be great at leading other people to be great at doing it too.

The other problem that often occurs is that new managers usually have specific KPIs, goals and targets for own job – the one they’ve been doing successfully for a while, that has allowed them to be promoted. But they’re not given KPIs for their new management role. Human nature is to focus on what we’re measured, so many new managers will carry on doing their day job for the majority of their time, so that they continue to hit their targets. They will do a bit of management in their ‘spare’ time, when they can fit it in. How does it feel to be managed by someone in their spare time? How does it feel to manage people in your spare time? It’s not a very efficient way of getting things done.

The Disappearing Manager


An example I saw recently was a newly promoted Sales Manager, who would disappear at start of each month, in order to focus on hitting his own targets. When he reached his goal, usually about the 27th of the month, he found that he had time to manage his team, so was all over them, trying to manage them and sort out the issues that they had been struggling with all month. Just when his team got used to having their manager around, he would disappear again on the 1st of the month, as he had a new monthly target to hit.

What feeds this behaviour is only measuring operational targets, rather than also looking at the performance of the team and the new manager, as a manager. It’s like trying to spin too many plates, or having too many tabs open in your internet browser. It makes you too unresponsive as a manager, if you always have too much to do.

If you’ve been promoted to a management role, you need to put time efficient processes in place, so that you can carry on doing your job, while getting more done by other people – the team of people who you are now managing. If you’re promoting someone to a management role for the first time, make sure that you set them management targets as well as operational ones. Don’t expect them to carry on doing all of their old job, if you’re giving them a new management job to do as well.

Have you recently been promoted? Are you looking for some help to get settled into your new role? If so, we can help. Get in touch to ask us about coaching for new managers. You can call us on 01483 303 593 or click here to email us.

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