Top 8 Common Mistakes of First-Time Managers

Many professionals still seek to take a step up the corporate ladder to a management position with a better salary. However, if you are a first time manager, be warned that this includes a lot of beginners’ mistakes.

Pretty sure you have ever worked under a newly appointed manager before, so you would know those mistakes made can stick for a while. Remember that first impression last, so you would want to make a good impression for your team or department.

In this article, we looked at the most common mistakes of first-time managers, and highlighting what you can do to avoid them in order to be better than you are already.

Making Sure Everything Runs Smoothly

One of the common mistakes of first-time managers is wanting to make sure everything is running smoothly. Keeping an operation running smoothly is a challenging task and it can absorb all of the new manager’s time and energy.

While it may be ideal, ensuring everything runs effortlessly, this only can be done when you have enough experience in the field. Without the experience, new managers with getting stressed up easily and even think that they are not good at their new position.

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

― Vince Lombardi ―

Failing To Ask Questions

First-time managers tend to self-declare that they are not allowed to ask their subordinates any questions, with the fear that their skills and knowledge as someone in-charge will be looked down upon or even questioned. They even fear of asking their bosses question, in case it portrays as something they should know but do not know instead.

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That is definitely untrue. Asking questions on something that first-time managers are not aware of is better than assuming the answers. Remember that assuming could create a bigger problem should it be a wrong assumption, and that would lead to an embarrassment to your department that you are managing.

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.

― Thomas Berger ―

Imitating Others

Another common mistake of first-time managers are when they try to imitate other managers before them. While everyone may have an idol or someone they look up to in life, first-time managers must always remember to be themselves and not be a shadow of someone else.

While there are methods of management that may work for some managers, it may not work for you.  Develop your own management style and even though it does not happen magically, you will get the hang of running things along the way.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

― Ralph Waldo Emerson ―

Change Everything Right Away

It is a common error with new managers, where they want to change everything right away. New managers are often so excited to make changes that they want to start on everything at once. This could rub people the wrong way and people will get annoyed at every changes made all at once.

Take time to know your team and understand their work culture and habit better before making any dramatic changes in the way things are being done or getting the task completed. You never know, some things do not need any changes but just needs perfecting.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

– Maya Angelou ―

Doing Everything Themselves

As a new manager, you would want to prove to the bosses that you are able to take on as many tasks and doing everything on your own. You had a to-do list of assignments that you were responsible for, and your main responsibility was to get those things done.

You cannot focus on individual tasks but you can do it delegating. New managers have to focus their effort on helping their team complete their task and projects. Remember that your success is dependent on the success of your team.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

― Helen Keller ―

Having an “I’m the Boss” Attitude

Another common mistake made by new managers is having the attitude that they have the power and everyone should listen to them. New managers were often standouts in their previous jobs, and they enjoyed a fair degree of freedom and independence to be on their own to get the task done. With a new job and title, they expect to feel more authority.

Avoid that attitude of being bossy and always be humble. Kick off with a team bonding lunch and get to know the team better to gain respect. Remember that respect have to be earned and it is never given to you.

He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.

― Niccolo Machiavelli ―

Concentrating on Tasks Instead of People

As a manager, you will generally have more task at hand as compared to your previous job. You would have weekly reports, budgets, planning and more projects to be in charge of. Thus, you then to be concentrating on completing the task without thinking of your team. Your job as a manager is to get the best work from the people you manage.

Ideally, you should be able to show each person you manage how to see themselves differently so that they are able to produce at a higher level than they ever imagined. Each team member wants to learn and benefit something in each project, and it is your job to find out what that is.

To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge.

― Summer Sanders ―

More Talking, Less Listening

This is the most common mistake a new manager could ever make; they talk too much and they never listen to what others have to say. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, so listen to what others have to say. When you do too much of the talking, people will eventually listen not because they want to hear what you have to say but because they have no other choice; since you are the manager.

Remember that there is no way to figure out what people want without getting them talking. So listening to what others have to say could actually be the key to making your job easier and your transition into the new role much smoother.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

― Bryant H. McGill ―

In Summary

While we have listed the common mistakes of new managers, remember to make room for error because, at the end of the, you are only human. Being a leader is an ongoing learning experience, and it is never going to be easy. However, you can always learn, set expectations, and shift your focus on things that matter, and soon you will be seen as a positive leader.

Good luck!

Heryati R

Heryati R

Heryati is a member of the customer success team at 6Q, and is based in Perth, Western Australia. Heryati enjoys writing, reading and live music. She believes 6Q is awesome for employee engagement surveys.