7 Common Challenges of New Managers

By Canadian Management Centre

Common Challenges of New Managers

Most people work for years to get a promotion to management. Unfortunately, many of those same people aren't prepared for how hard they'll have to work after they've received that coveted promotion in order to be perceived as a competent and trustworthy manager by their staff, peers and senior management.

Having the title of manager doesn't automatically confer power, privilege or respect. But the title can secure such recognition and launch a rewarding career for those who are prepared for the challenges that accompany their new role. We've identified the biggest challenges new managers commonly face and pinpoint strategies to help you overcome them: 

1. Managing and Setting Expectations

Knowing what your team and senior management expect of you is every new manager's first order of business. Working conscientiously to manage and meet those expectations greatly affects a new manager's success.

Specifically, it’s not only important for a new manager to recognize and address the expectations that others have for them, but for the new manager to be clear in the expectations they’re setting for others.

2. Establishing Credibility

Amidst all the stress, it's easy for new managers to feel insecure and question their own ability. As a new manager, it's important to remember that you got the promotion because you earned it. Build confidence by stepping back and taking stock of your past leadership experiences and your most accomplished skills. To be seen, heard and believed as a manager, bring your expertise to the job every day.

3. Balancing Technical and Management Expertise

Your new role requires a new set of skills. As a manager, you are no longer responsible for just producing results. Now, your job is to get things done through and with your team members. Your success isn't just measured by what you do, but by what your staff is able to achieve. Avoid the pitfall of micromanaging your staff's work, and instead give them the guidance and space to succeed.

4. Finding Rewards in Different Places

As a new manager, you might at first miss being recognized for your individual contributions and achievements. You may not always feel the same sense of accomplishment you felt as a staff member. For your own job satisfaction, look for other rewards, such as how you've helped your staff work through a conflict or improved your team's ability to work together.

5. Managing Time

Even in a leadership role, you still have to manage your own time efficiently. But now, you rely on your staff's ability to make efficient use of their time as well. Be aware of how the demands you place on your staff affect your own time management. Work to make it easier for them to meet deadlines and give you the information you need on time.

6. Managing Change

Change is stressful, but this anxiety is often avoidable. As a first-time manager, one of your new roles will be that of a change agent. It’s therefore important to get comfortable with change. Not only will you be called on to implement change—sometimes exciting, sometimes unsettling—you must also be prepared to help your staff accept change and support them through it.

7. Supporting Risk-tasking

Taking risks is the key to achieving breakthroughs. Be an example by taking risks and taking action to get results—and encourage your team to follow. Recognize that allowing your team to make mistakes can often lead to the most creative solutions.

A new manager's job is inherently stressful. Being aware of and ready to handle common challenges if and when they arise will help ease that stress and smooth the transition. Above all, do not expect too much too soon. As a new manager, give your staff and upper management time to adjust and see you in a new way. Be patient with yourself too.

Are you a new manager? Set yourself up for greater success with our best-selling course Management Skills for New Supervisors and Managers.

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