Fundamental Skills for New Managers

Posted by Blake on June 25, 2009

2008 blakeWe often hear about a bright, experienced employee who has been promoted. In this new position, the employee will be leading a team – something he/she has never done before or been equipped to do.

People are not born successful managers. It takes time, training and guidance from mentors and peers as well as hands-on experience to become an effective manager. Those of us who are more experienced managers may find ourselves in a supervisory or mentoring position to help bring along less experienced colleagues.

How can you advise a new manager as he or she enters into this next phase of their career? Here are a few fundamentals you can share with someone who is tackling their first management opportunity.

Managing people is both an art and science. The art of managing is recognizing that each person is different and will require a different style of communication and attention. This takes time, but being a manager is about giving time to your employees. A manager cannot assume that by managing everyone identically he will get the same results from everyone. Learn to develop an appropriate approach that works for each individual.

Rely on process to create greater management effectiveness. Gut and instinct are important when dealing with people, but effective managers rely on process to guide their management practices. In our organization, we call this the Management Cycle of Success, and it has four phases. This cycle includes:


Communicating and directing

Developing and coaching

Observing and assessing

The primary role of manager is to utilize employees to help an organization achieve its business goals. In order to accomplish this, a good manager works with employees to ensure they understand tasks and can properly deliver results. You must also ensure that knowledge and experience are readily transferred between employees for the benefit of all. Work with each employee to help them develop to his/her fullest potential as a professional so everyone wins: the employee, the organization, and you as the manager.

Effective communication is the hallmark of a good manager. Perfectionism and micromanaging do not help employees become successful; but consistent and effective communication do. As a manager, you must both listen to and talk with your employees -- frequently. If you manage people who work from other locations, maintain consistent communication via phone and e-mail, a critical component to bridge the gap between face-to-face meeting times. Proactive communication helps prevent mistakes, conflict and failure.

Just because an employee is a self-starter and motivated does not mean he/she doesn’t need a manager. These employees need communication and guidance like anyone else. Do not neglect them because they are not the “squeaky wheel” of the office.

Being a manager is one of the most challenging and rewarding things a professional will do in his/her career. It takes time, patience and above all desire to help others grow. Hopefully these tips can be of help to you or others you know who are working to become more effective managers.

Topics: Training division, Mitchell Team