Common mistakes you can make as a new manager

The line between enthusiasm and over-compensation is fine at the best of times, and a new manager may feel the need to spread themselves thin across all tasks, or to micromanage their teams.

Some feel that this probationary period is a rite of passage that all successful managers must endure, while others feel it is the responsibility of the team to give support through this period.

The most common errors often occur because the leader is left to tread water without any support, and one of these is breaking tasks down into three main areas. Each area focus produces different, but often undesirable results.

(1) The team

A new manager should not focus entirely on their team – they are eager to impress and win them over, with the hope that once a team is working together as a unit, everything else will just fall into place. However, getting a team to this point requires time to come to understand each individual and what motivates them.

Such effort often sees all other facets of business being abandoned. Deadlines get missed, seniors get frustrated and the blow to the company reputation is felt throughout. The most successful managers know to deliver in each element of their role.

(2) Focussing on tasks

Too much focus on a task – and on delivery of tasks – causes neglect of other vital areas of business. It is easy to assume that committing to getting jobs done and becoming something of a task machine can only be good for business, but abandoning the customer focus and team support often results in low employee morale and bewildered customers.

The praise that should be earned by task delivery is eclipsed by alienating autocratic working style. Both the team and the customer must be remembered as key players.

(3) Self

It is natural for people who have recently received a promotion to feel their ego being inflated. However, those managers who focus too heavily on themselves risk isolating themselves from the rest of the team, and even from their clients.

An egotistical new manager will see their team’s productivity nosedive, leading to missed deadlines and poor morale. Ambition is not necessarily a bad character trait among management, but it is important to keep it in check and ensure that a current role is fulfilled properly before looking to the next rung on the career ladder.

Of course, there is a multitude of mistakes that new managers can make, and for the majority, it is a learning curve that they soon come to terms with. But it is important that no areas are overlooked, and that everyone on the team feels fully supported.

Margo Manning is a leadership coach and author of The Step Up Mindset for New Managers (£14.99, Panoma Press).

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