5 Ways for New Managers to Start Strong

You just got promoted! Now what?

Whether you just took on an intern or you’ve been promoted to lead a new team, managing people for the first time is tricky. When your leadership skills are put to the test, we’ve got you covered with these confidence-boosting tips. 5 Ways for New Managers to Start Strong

The Skill Set: How to Start Strong as a New Manager

1. Let go of tangible tasks

“As an individual contributor, you get used to producing—crossing tasks off your list and having concrete results to point to—while as a manager, you may not have anything tangible to check off at the end of the day,” says Leadership Coach Jennine Heller. While that shift may feel strange at first, Jennine explains that your day-to-day accomplishments, though more abstract, are as (if not more) important. “Resist the temptation to dive back into details, where you’ve been comfortable,” she advises. “Stay focused on the key aspects of your new role: communicating direction, setting priorities and supporting the team.” 

2. Don’t be afraid to delegate

“If you don’t delegate, you’ll drown,” warns Roberta Matuson, an executive coach and author of Suddenly in Charge. “There won’t be anyone to throw you a lifeline, since you didn’t delegate that task to anyone else.” Jennine clarifies that delegation doesn’t simply mean assigning someone a task, walking away and hoping for the best. “Be specific about what you need, clarify the intended results and provide support where necessary,” she says. “Taking deliverables off your own plate frees up your time so you can focus on high-level responsibilities; it gives your team members the opportunity to stretch, creates mutual respect and reinforces your role as a leader.” 

3. Boost your confidence

“The moment you’re promoted, you’re expected to perform,” says Roberta. To build confidence as a leader quickly, find a mentor whose management style you admire and turn to them for guidance. “Be willing to make mistakes,” advises Jennine. “Ask for feedback from your team, your colleagues and your own manager. Your confidence will grow with your experience.”

4. Assess your new team ASAP

“The biggest mistake a newly appointed leader can make is taking too long to assess the team they’ve inherited,” says Roberta. Figure out what’s working and find any potential holes or areas for improvement. “Get to know your team members—understand their abilities, their goals and what makes them tick—then manage to those individual needs,” says Jennine. 

5. Build trust by being genuine

“It’s okay not to know everything,” says Roberta. Be transparent with your team about your own strengths and weaknesses. “The better you do your job, and the more authentic you are as you do it, the more your people will appreciate your management and trust you as a leader,” says Jennine.


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Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump. Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo