Expert Panel

Focus on these things to succeed in First Time Manager or Supervisor

Before You Blaze A Trail, Ask


{#/pub/images/BeforeYouBlazeATrailAsk.jpg}One of my clients had recently promoted someone to a manager for the first time.  Now instead of doing the work alongside her colleagues, she was in charge.  She seemed more than capable and more than willing to step into this new role.


Things started off pretty well as she found her groove with her new team.  Everything seemed on track.  Then she began to make changes to the team.


As the new leader, she had many, many ideas on how to improve the processes and procedures of her team.  She also had a strong desire to make a name for herself as a creative and innovative problem solver.  This was getting her a lot of attention, but it was not all good attention.


There were times when she seemed to be changing the rules, just for the sake of changing them.  Her upper management could not understand why certain procedures were no longer being followed.  Eventually, her leadership was impacting other areas and their ability to get their work done.


When you were hired in to your new leadership role, you were likely hired not only for the great new ideas you could bring to the table, but also for your ability to lead your team in following current policies and procedures.  If you were promoted from within, your leaders saw you doing a great job in the position you were in, and wanted to reward you for that.  If you were hired from the outside, within your interview you shared something about how you got work done, the interview team liked.


Before You Blaze A Trail, Ask

After you settle in to your new role, and you begin seeing inefficiencies or potential changes, start asking questions.  Ask your leadership how long the policy has been that way.  Ask how the policy came to be.  Ask your colleagues how they went about making changes within their roles.  Ask what the right way is for you to initiate change.  Ask what is non-negotiable or set in stone.  Ask what you have the authority to do and what you need permission for.  Ask your team for input on changes.  Ask, ask, ask.


In some companies, the leadership will step back and let you run with your ideas as much as you would like.  In other companies, they will guide you on where you can go and where you need to stay away from.  It is always best to ask so that you are clear as a leader, how things work in your organization.


Blazing A Trail For Your Team


Without asking to be sure you know if, when, and how to initiate changes, it is harder for you to lead your team.  Your team learns from you if, when, and how to initiate change.  If you are unsure, your team is unsure.  If you are making changes without buy-in from your organization, your team will get confused.  If you are making changes without it being clear to your team why they are happening, or where they fit in, eventually your team will stop following.


The new manager I mentioned above thought she was doing what she was supposed to do.  But as it turns out, it was not what her leadership team wanted her to do.  They were ok with fine tuning certain protocols, but there were standards that lead to the production that absolutely had to be maintained.  Some of the efficiencies she tried to create in her area hurt the quality of the product in the end and that was not acceptable.  Once she was clear on what changes she could and couldn’t make, her team was much more successful, and satisfied.


One of the greatest assets to an organization is a new leader.  A new leader can see things that someone in the role for a long time might not.  Having different experiences, preferences, and challenges makes each leader unique and valuable.  Being able to apply your skills to your new role can seem a bit challenging at first.  Ask, ask, and ask some more and you will find yourself with the answers you need to lead your team to success.



{#/pub/images/EmilieShoop2014.jpg}Written by Emilie Shoop, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting A sought after Coach, Mompreneur, Strategist, Mentor, Speaker, Author, Trainer & Business Consultant, Emilie works with people who are ready for that next level of success, and realize how they work with people is KEY.  Her coaching will help you lead, delegate, sell, collaborate, perform, influence, and relate with people to launch your success to the next level. She provides clients, teams and organizations the skills and tools for leadership and professional excellence.


Do you have a management question for Emilie?  Post it in our First Time Manager/Supervisor Community and she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


Did you find this story informative?  We would like the opportunity to keep you up to date on all of our training articles.  Please Sign Up for our newsletter so we can do just that.  


Here are some related articles you may be interested in:  


First Line Managers Set the Tone for Team Culture

How To Give A Meaningful Compliment

Leading Through Change: Persistence and change agents are...

Lost in Translation, Again!

Managing Conflict: Six Things NOT to Do


 About ManagingAmericans.com

We are America’s Management & Leadership Center for Professional Development. Our well-rounded business content is designed for Leaders & Managers to implement change with ease & improve accountability amongst their teams. Here you’ll find Articles from 30+ Expert Consultants, Coaches & Thought Leaders, access practical Business Templates, learn new skills & connect to our Expert Panel to answer your organizational challenges.



What part of your transition to management has been the most difficult?