How to Be a First-Time Manager


Management is a vital and nuanced skill that takes years to master.

Unsurprisingly, 44% of first-time managers feel unprepared for their role, according to the learning platform Grovo.

Whether one is thrown into a management role or gradually assumed more responsibility, management requires serious responsibility..

The learning curve can be steep, so be patient and focus on building the right skills. To avoid costly mistakes, it’s important to seek out a mentor and follow best practices.

Here’s how to be an effective first-time manager:

  1. Model ideal employee behavior
  2. Provide structure
  3. Empower your staff
  4. Measure performance and productivity

1. Model Ideal Employee Behavior

Employees look at leaders as models for behavior.

So, managers can inspire good behavior by exemplifying the attitudes and actions they want to see in the workplace.

Minimize any tardiness, rudeness, and complaining about the boss.

Exhibit integrity and a positive attitude instead. This means arriving on time for meetings, sticking to your deadlines, and constraining your personal opinions.

Strive to maintain a high standard for yourself that others will want to emulate.

Admirable behavior will engender the respect of your employees, which is vital to effective management. Representing your department and organization optimally will also attract the praise of your superiors.

If you’re on your best behavior, you can expect good behavior from employees.

2. Provide Structure

Most employees need structure and guidance in the workplace.

According to Office Vibe, 65% of people say they want more feedback from their boss. And 42% of millennials want feedback every week.

As a manager, you must set expectations about roles and responsibilities and help your employees accomplish their tasks.

This means holding regular one-to-one meetings to discuss employees’ progress.

Use this time to stay updated, learn what employees need from you, and help them to do their best work.

Avoid micromanagement or excessive structure and guidance.

This means asking questions that suggest the right approach rather than dictating the path forward. You must delegate, but remember that experience is the best way to grow – even it results in the occasional failure.

Leverage your influence rather than your power as you manage.

Define success, provide a framework, and cede control. This allows employees to do their best while encouraging them to ask questions as they go.

3. Empower Your Staff

Effective managers are the stewards of competent and motivated employees.

According to Gallup, only 31% of U.S. employees are engaged in the workplace.

It’s important to empower your staff to make decisions as well as mistakes. This way, they’ll be able to learn, grow, and remain content in their position.

Encourage staff to take ownership of initiatives. The collective knowledge and innovation of your staff can be a powerful asset, so foster an environment that’s conducive to new ideas.

Doing this requires you to listen to staff rather than insist upon your expertise.

When employees see themselves as self-sufficient, it frees you to work on more strategic and impactful work. It also leads to better results, which elevates your sway as a boss and status as an employee.

Fostering a sense of agency among employees is essential to an engaged and effective team.

4. Measure Performance and Productivity

Measuring performance and productivity is important to building employee trust and credibly pushing them to improve..

Measure your employees’ performance and productivity with objectives and key results (OKRs). Track what they’re contributing on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.

To be valid, these measurements must be impartial and objective. To make sure your staff is invested in the data, signal its importance by instituting it early in your time as manager..

Be sure to recognize your employees for their good work and improvements over time.

Showing staff that you value their efforts is critical to ensuring their motivation, performance, and loyalty.

Follow Best Management Practices

As a manager, you’re responsible for the effort, outcome, and mentality of your employees.

Elevate your behavior and empower your staff to foster an atmosphere that engenders success. Keep track of employee progress and performance, and offer assistance and corrections needed.

By using these tips, you will be able to manage your employees effectively.


Seamus Roddy is the lead research and content developer for Clutch’s HR and recruitment segments.



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