Leadership Tips for New Managers

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Your hard work is finally paying off and you’re rising up the career ladder. Now you have been tasked with managing junior staff for the first time… congratulations! This can be a rewarding yet daunting opportunity. Without a rule book to follow, you’ll likely learn a lot through trial and error. But to hopefully reduce that error rate, we have some great tips from experienced managers to help you right out of the gate. Here are our top pieces of advice for effectively managing junior staff

Identify your management persona

Channel your own experiences and think back to what you liked most about your favorite managers, and what got under your skin with managers you didn’t click with. From the start, mentally prepare yourself on how you’d like to come across as a manager and how you’d handle challenging situations.

Assist in goal-setting

If your direct report is new to the company, sit down with them during their first week to hold a goal-setting exercise. Help them map out their goals to make sure they’ll be meeting the expectations of their position and the growth needed to reach the next level. If you are stepping in as the new manager of a report who has already been with the company for a while, you should still have a conversation to get clued in on their existing goals and determine where you might be able to add value.

Ask lots of questions

For entry-level employees who are new to the workforce, check in with them at the start and end of every day. Get a sense of what they are working on, how things are going, and what they like to do for fun! They may be too nervous to ask what they fear is a “dumb question,” but if you create an environment where the channels of communication are always open, they’ll be more likely to feel engaged and proactively seek out help when they need it.

Hold regular check-ins

Beyond daily status updates, a best practice for managers is to set aside a half hour every week for a more formal touch base – this can be done via phone or a video conferencing tool if you work in different locations. The important thing is to make sure you drive the conversation. Entry-level staff might not even know what they can or should be tapping you for support with. Help them build confidence in talking about their accomplishments, opportunities, and challenges so they can develop key communication skills.

Build out their schedule

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to set assignments for your employee and/or communicate with other managers for support. A quick way for junior staff to become disengaged is if they’re given too much downtime and not being effectively utilized. Make sure they always have enough to do. But not too much…

Help balance their workload

On the other hand, you don’t want young staff to burn out quickly by having too much on their plate at once. Part of your role will be to teach them skills in time management and prioritization. If things are busy and even you are struggling with what they should prioritize “because it all needs to get done,” make sure you escalate these concerns to your own manager and ask for help. 

It takes a bit of getting used to, but managing people is a great way to really impact your company or organization in a really positive way — not to mention support/mentor up-and-coming womxn!

Erin Cornell is a twenty-something communications professional and blogger living in Boston, still trying to figure out this whole “adulting” thing. Follow along at www.abrowneyedberry.com and @abrowneyedberry to read more of her wellness, style, and career advice geared towards millennial women.