Becoming a first-time manager isn’t easy, no matter your industry. That’s because most first-time managers lack the guidance necessary for success. Experts note that most blue-collar workers haven’t had management training. Therefore, they approach the job by mimicking what they’ve seen other managers do, which isn’t always the right thing.
For first-time managers, job management experts say that how you interact with your team will prove critical in setting boundaries and expectations. That will ultimately determine how successfully work is completed and how those who work under you can grow. In addition, experts say that once a manager breaks a team member’s trust, it can be hard to gain back.
If you are starting a new job as a manager for the first time, consider avoiding these five promises and phrases while on the job.
1. “CONTACT ME IF ANYTIME COMES UP.”
While offering your team members this type of open-door policy may sound great in theory, this commitment will only set you up for repeated interruptions which can negatively impact your work, according to experts.
You’ll never get a break if you make yourself the be-all and end-all of everything. In fact, if you give your team the impression that you will always be available, you will stunt your career growth and hold your team back. Instead, experts say that managers should be upfront with setting boundaries depending on the situation.
2. “I WILL SHARE EVERYTHING WITH YOU.”
New managers often want to seem likable and authentic by making promises or setting precedents to share it all with their team members. Management coaches say that while sharing is instrumental in building trust and encouraging cohesion, total transparency is often impossible or even appropriate.
Instead, experts say that managers should promise their team members that they will always be as open and honest as possible and then ensure that their actions back it up. As a manager, it is also essential to be cautious about casually sharing details. That includes sharing personal information and intimate details or addressing team members informally.
3. “I WILL START THIS BALL ROLLING.”
According to experts, open-ended commitments like this one aren’t effective since they offer false promises that a request will happen and ultimately imply a specific outcome. Take a request for a raise, for example. Promising to a request like that into motion is usually something that a manager cannot guarantee.
Therefore, experts say you should choose your words wisely in such cases. Instead, try statements like, “I’ll discuss it with my supervisor. I’ll get back to you with feedback,” because vague reassurances can lead to later disappointment.
4. “LET’S GET LOST IN THE WEEDS WITH THIS SMALL DETAIL.”
Okay, maybe you won’t use that language. But the point is, when you were just a contributor, focusing on the technical aspects associated with your job, or “delving into the weeds,” as they say, might have contributed to you becoming a model employee. But, for new managers, getting into the weeds can be their downfall.
When new managers reach that leadership level where others will turn to them, team members seeking direction will want to know how they contribute to the larger plan or picture. They don’t want to be led down the rabbit hole. Therefore, new managers should avoid bogging down their teams with the details that will label them as short-sighted micromanagers.
5. “IT’S NOT REALLY A BIG DEAL.”
For the first-time manager, offering feedback and making corrections can often feel uncomfortable. As a result, they use language like, “It’s not really a big deal,” as a way of seeming less harsh in the face of their team members. Unfortunately, according to experts, this behavior does less to reassure team members and actually causes confusion.
Think about it: if something isn’t such a big deal, why would you even mention it in the first place? Statements like that minimize any criticism you just offered to your team member. No matter how serious the conversation is, experts say that such comments will confuse your team members, and they won’t know what to do moving forward.
Instead of using language that minimizes feedback, experts say that managers should be totally upfront as to why criticism is being offered. They should also be clear about precisely what they are hoping to correct by using language such as, “Don’t panic,” “Don’t think you’re not performing well,” and “I just want to bring this to your attention or highlight this for you.”
FIRST-TIME MANAGER TAKEAWAYS
By avoiding these statements and behaviors, first-time managers will have a better chance of managing their teams and leading them toward success. For many first-time managers who have moved up the ladder into the position they now find themselves in, knowing how to manage a team can be unfamiliar. These tips should help you on your new journey.