Monday Management Minute: 5 Tips for First-Time Managers


After the excitement of a promotion to a leadership role settles, you may find yourself with questions – and maybe a few worries, too. Making the transition to a supervisory role can be daunting, whether you worked your way up the ladder or fell into a managerial position more unexpectedly. All too often, first-time managers trip over the same stumbling blocks.

Although you will undoubtedly learn many valuable lessons in your first year, there are a few hurdles you can be aware of to help smooth out the transition. In today’s Monday Management Minute, we’ll give you five tips for first-time managers:

1. Focus on respecting individuals, not making friends.

This holds particularly true for a young finance manager promoted from the ranks. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining friendships with your former coworkers, but take care not to let the nature of those relationships affect how you treat them as a manager. Being buddies with your team won’t make them respect you and will only lead to trouble when it comes to making tough managerial decisions, especially if you’re younger than your employees. Of course, you should still spend some time getting to know everyone on staff: their strengths, their weaknesses and their personal career goals. By truly knowing your workers, you can make them feel valued and build a stronger team based on mutual respect.

2. Treat your team the way you want your bosses to treat you.

Yes, your promotion is something to be proud of, but don’t let it go to your head. It will also likely come with higher stress levels, but make sure you don’t take it out on your team. Instead, make an effort to show your employees your support on everything from current projects to their own individual career goals, as you expect your bosses to do for you.

3. Be transparent.

Unless your bosses explicitly ask you to keep something quiet, be sure to explain to your team the purpose of every project you assign. “Because the CFO said so” isn’t a valid explanation and will only leave your employees confused and possibly resentful. Every worker should thoroughly understand the important role they play in helping the company meet its goals. Also, fill your team in on any news, such as deadline changes or mergers, as soon as possible to stay ahead of the rumor mill.

4. Don’t micromanage.

With all this newfound responsibility, you’ll feel a lot of pressure to make everything perfect. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to control every aspect of every project, but in the long run, this will just demonstrate to your team that you don’t trust them. Instead, get to know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, assign tasks accordingly, and then trust them to do their jobs. Make sure they know you have an open-door policy if they have any questions or run into problems. They shouldn’t be afraid to approach you with issues or mistakes.

5. Get a mentor, be a mentor.

If your company has a mentorship program, take advantage of it. Mentors can help guide you through the daunting experience of being a first-time manager, and mentoring a new employee yourself will not only show your team you’re invested in their success, it will also help you keep in touch with the concerns and issues your employees are facing. If your organization doesn’t have a program, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from senior managers. No one expects you to magically have all the answers and solutions. Your bosses will respect you for showing that you’re looking for ways to improve and become a better finance manager.

Do you have tips for first-time managers? Share them in the comments section below.