Being a first time manager can be scary.  A thousand scenarios run through your head while you desperately fight to prevent becoming the kind of boss you hate, all while still reaching the goals your boss demands of you.  These tips are useful for a first time manager, or a seasoned manager looking for a refresher.

  • Have Open Communication – Communication with your team shouldn’t just occur in monthly meetings or staff performance reviews.  Ongoing dialogue is essential to a well-oiled team.  You shouldn’t need emails sent every day to catch you up on what happened in the office, or weekly 3 hour meetings to find out what your staff have accomplished. If you find these necessary, you aren’t talking to your employees enough.
  • Ask Questions – If you need to know something from your staff, ask.  Don’t wait for it to be told to you.  If you don’t ask, and something bad happens, you can only blame yourself.  It also shows that you are interested in what they are working on, and willing to follow up on the results.
  • Don’t try to finish it all in one day – You can’t close every file, enter all the data, or fix every problem in one day.  Trying to will just stress you out and make you irritable. Keep in mind that your staff can’t either, so don’t expect them to.  Remember that if you stress yourself out, you are probably projecting that onto them.
  • Manage your time – Be on time to meetings, make enough time for projects, and show up/leave work when you are supposed to.  Remember you are setting an example for your employees.  If you show up late to everything, are always rushing, and can’t keep up with your share of the workload (like signing their timesheets or vacation requests) you are making it appear okay for them to do that.
  • Learn to not take it personally – Even though it is typically shown the other way in shows and movies, employees will take out their frustrations on their boss too.  You often will have to give them news they may not want to hear, like denied vacation, extra workload, or a poor performance review.  These kinds of things can cause a blowback that are easy to take to heart, even if the decision was made by someone above you and you had nothing to do with it.  Try not to take it personal.  It will only lead to frustration.
  • Thrive in your environment – It is easy to get lazy when you are the boss.  Many people start to let others take over tasks for them.  That is the last thing you want to happen.  If you are the leader of the department, you should be the best resource in that area.  You should be the person everyone wants to come to about your specific job area.