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Career Focus, Issue #002 -- The latest job search tips designed to help you succeed
January 17, 2007

In this issue:

  • 7 Mistakes (Almost) Every New Manager Makes
  • Winning Friends and Influencing People

7 Mistakes (Almost) Every New Manager Makes

This article will be published shortly on Ezine Articles, and I wanted you to see it first.

Your hard work has paid off, and you've been rewarded with a promotion to management. You should commend yourself for a job well done, while at the same time looking ahead to your additional responsibilities. Or perhaps you've been a manager for a while, and things aren't going as well as you had expected. The initial feeling of elation has been transformed into stress, or even despair.

Sadly, most companies don't give new managers the information or training they really need to succeed. If you really want to improve your leadership and management skills, you must seek expert sources to assist you.

To get you started, avoiding the following 7 mistakes almost every new manager makes will help propel your career and allow you to avoid some of the pitfalls that other new managers fall into.

  1. Building Trust - Most people would agree that building trust is key in developing strong relationships with employees. Most new managers, however, fail to understand that this is the single most important thing you must do as a new manager. Often, new managers are promoted from within the ranks, and the transition from "co-worker" to "manager" can be difficult not only for the new manager, but also for the friends that didn't get promoted.

    In order to succeed as a manager, you must build trust with every person on your team. Building trust takes time. You must show your team that you are consistent, fair, that you value good performance, and that you are discreet. Taking sides with employees, and putting yourself in a position where you are perceived to show favoritism will not help you build the trust you need.

  2. Delegation - Many employees are promoted to management due to their hard work and expertise. Unfortunately, because many companies don't provide the support and training that new managers need, many new managers use their expertise as a crutch. Instead of handing work responsibilities to members of their team, they do the work themselves, because they can control it, and know how and when it will get done. More importantly, they feel comfortable doing the work, and don't feel comfortable yet in leading a group of people. This is probably the most difficult thing to change.

    If you want success as a new manager, you must learn to delegate responsibilities to others. Continuing to do the work yourself will only hurt you, your team, and ultimately, your customers.

  3. Managing vs. Leading - You hear the terms Manager and Leader used interchangeably. A mentor once told me, "You manage things, you lead people." Many new managers fail to grasp this concept, and try to manage their teams rather than lead them.

    Both managing and leading are important, for different reasons. First, you must learn to manage all the things that encompass the scope of your position: your budget, your strategic plans, your goals, and your team's performance. Second, you must learn to lead your team by inspiring them and motivating them to action towards the goals and strategic plans you have laid out. See the difference? In summary, you create a vision for your team that is achieved through tactical planning and action.

  4. Hiring - This is one of the most common and fatal mistakes of new managers. Hiring the right people for your team should be taken very seriously. A common reaction to becoming a new manager is one of defense and protection. When this happens, the manager feels threatened and wants to protect their job, and doesn't want anyone underneath them to be "better" than they are and possibly take their job from them. They tend to hire people who are not as smart or as experienced or as educated as they are. This is the complete opposite of how great leaders hire and mentor employees.

    Great leaders surround themselves with the best and the brightest. They hire people who can replace them, often people who might just do their job better. Why would they do this? Because building a great team shows true leadership and opens you up for promotion. If you have a team of non-performers, there's no one to fill your position if a promotion opens up. In addition, your time is spent dealing with the incompetence and lack of performance due to your poor hiring decisions. Upper management will notice when you have created a stellar team or a team of misfits.

    Hire the best and the brightest, and groom at least one person to replace you. Not only does this open you up for promotion, but it allows you to leave for vacations and holidays knowing that your responsibilities are well taken care of.

  5. Setting Expectations - A common complaint of many employees is that they don't really know what they should be doing and lack clear direction. Many new managers fail to strategically plan for the future, and therefore don't set goals or expectations for their employees. Every employee needs to know what he or she should be doing, and then be measured against it. Without setting clear expectations, your employees become nervous and suspicious, and sometimes discouraged because they have no clear direction or purpose.

    Set performance goals and objectives for every employee, and put measures in place to inspect what you expect.

  6. Focus on Poor Performers - When new managers are faced with poor performers on their team, much of their time and energy is spent on these individuals, at the detriment and expense of the best performers on the team. This is a natural reaction, as managers want to see improvement and can't help but focus on the poor performance. After all, poor performance reflects badly on them as managers.

    If you truly want a high performance team, focus on your best performers. Be sure to acknowledge and reward your best employees with thanks and appreciation for a job well done. Don't ever take your best performers for granted. For many people, job satisfaction and happiness are more important than money. Everyone wants to feel important. Make sure that your best employees know that you value what they contribute, and that they are an important part of the team. If you fail to do this, your best employees will pursue opportunities elsewhere.

    And as for the poor performers? Although you should not focus on your poor performers, you must not ignore them, either.

    You must hold people to the expectations of the position, and follow any disciplinary procedures if they do not perform.

    Don't get involved in anyone's personal issues, or allow your emotions to make excuses for poor performance. You can be compassionate, and sympathize with someone's situation, however, the job still needs to get done.

  7. Managing Up - Truly an artform unto itself, learning to manage up will greatly improve your leadership and management skills. Managing up is the ability to control, manage, and influence the decisions of those above you in the chain of command.

    You manage up by becoming proactive with everything your team does, and everything you see your team doing in the future.

    Most new managers fail to become proactive, and wait for their manager or higher up to ask for a report, or a presentation, or performance results. You should proactively provide your team's performance results, productivity, and accomplishments to your manager. You should also put yourself in a position to become your manager's replacement. Just as you should be grooming someone on your team to replace you, you should become your manager's replacement. Effectively learning to sell and market your team's value takes some time, but gets easier with practice.

  8. As a new manager, you should now be armed with some helpful information to succeed in your new position. Learn as much as you can, and don't ever assume that you know everything.

    Winning Friends and Influencing People

    Believe it or not, I just recently read for the first time the classic book by Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People. I guess I had never read it because I figured it was for people who wanted to manipulate others or get them to buy things from you. Boy, was I ever wrong.

    After first borrowing it from the library, and then purchasing my own copy, the lessons and enlightenment this book can bring you are absolutely amazing. You will see yourself and others differently, and have a positive perspective about things around you.

    If you have never read this book, I encourage you to read it soon. Most public libraries carry it, but you'll no doubt want to have your own copy for future reference.

    In the coming weeks, I'll be adding pages to the site to address management and leadership. As part of these additions, I'll be adding a "recommended reading" list for leaders or those aspiring to leadership.

    If you want to order your own new or used copy (very inexpensive) right away, you can use the link below:

    Please send me a note.

    Please forward this newsletter to your friends!

    Thank you!

    Best wishes to your success,


    Pax Enterprises, Inc. 810 Russell St. Nashville, TN 37206

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