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First-Time Managers – Common Pitfalls & Struggles

first-time-managers-common-pitfalls-strugglesFirst-time managers have the unique struggle of finding their rightful place within the business. They’re likely used to reporting up to a higher level on the organizational chart. Generally, this means they don’t feel fully comfortable with having others report up to them. 

With so many new, sometimes even foreign responsibilities thrust upon them, it’s easy to understand why first-time managers can stumble from time to time. 

Here are some of the common pitfalls and struggles they face:

Four First-Time Manager Pitfalls & Struggles

1. Lack of Confidence

Have you ever been put in a position where you’re not sure if you’re taking the right action? Lack of confidence is one of the most common struggles first-time managers face when starting their new roles. It often stems from wanting to do their best, but not having the experience to know if they’re doing the new title justice. 

It’s why having trusted mentors and comprehensive training programs is crucial to help new managers get acclimated to their job duties. Low confidence can lead to more conservative decision making, which may not be the innovative thinking the company expected of its newest rising star in the organization. 

Related article: The Importance of Developing Your Future Generation of Leaders

2. Not Effective at Communication

Another department where first-time managers can struggle is learning to effectively communicate with those around them. In the past, they may have been great at horizontal communication. But now, the process of delegating tasks vertically is a whole different ball game for them. Having people report to you for the first time can be a scary new experience. 

First-time managers have come to expect clear, concise direction that they have gotten from their own leaders in the organization. Instead, they may revert back to speaking to team members in a way that’s not as conducive to productivity as the company may have hoped when they hired or promoted them. 

3. Trouble Managing the Workload

One of the inherent pitfalls that come along with poor communication and lack of confidence is an abnormal workload. As first-time managers struggle to find their stride, they can sometimes view it easier to try and do everything on their own instead of trusting the team around them. 

They lean on long hours and short breaks to get all of the work done independently. At the same time, they hand the easiest of assignments to their direct-report employees. This quickly leads to burnout, as there comes a point where there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete all of the work they’re hoarding for themselves. 

4. Shifting From Coworker to Boss

It’s natural for each of us to make friends on the job. It’s a fact of life, as these are usually the people we spend the most time with day-in and day-out. A line must be drawn when someone is promoted to manage people they were friendly with just days earlier.

The truth is, being the boss isn’t easy. Shifting a first-time manager’s mentality from coworker to boss can be a tall task even for the best of us. There are more expectations, codes of conduct, and overall eyeballs watching your every move. This means that it may not be good for the company to continue being buddy-buddy with people. Especially when there comes a time where difficult conversations need to be had with subordinates. 

Learn More About Dale Carnegie Leadership Workshops for First-Time Managers

Becoming a good leader takes a number of innate skills that must be learned. Managing people is an integral part of any new leadership role. Understanding how to motivate those around you is the best way to succeed in your own job. This workshop will give emerging leaders the skills to transition from a good supervisor into an effective and engaging leader. If you are interested in learning more about leadership training, Dale Carnegie can help. 

Give Dale Carnegie a Try by Signing Up for our FREE workshop.


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