Are You A New Manager? Here Are 3 Things You Should Know

Heidi Lynne Kurter
4 min readFeb 13, 2022


Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Shifting from an individual contributor to a manager role can be overwhelming and a difficult transition. According to research, 45% of managers reported that they have never received formal management training. As a consequence, they lack the confidence to lead, coach, and develop their team. This often leads to them forming bad habits in an effort to hide their mistakes and shortcomings. Likewise, new managers avoid seeking help from their own boss for fear that they’ll be seen as incompetent or punished for their mistakes.

As with any new manager, they’re determined to prove themselves quickly but they fail to build connections with their team. This is the biggest detriment to a new manager’s success as the relationship a manager has with their employees is vital to the growth of the organization. In fact, there are a variety of benefits to building strong relationships with your team such as

  • Increased collaboration
  • Mutual respect
  • Less stress and burnout
  • Higher productivity and engagement
  • More effective conversations
  • The ability to persevere through challenges and change
  • An inclusive team environment, and more.

Here are three tips for new managers to get the most out of their team and succeed.

Listen To Learn And Learn To Listen

The last thing people want is a manager to come in and bulldoze what’s already been done without taking the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is why new managers should take the first 30 days to build relationships, interact with others, ask questions, learn about the team and the company, better understand the pain points and observe how and why things are done the way they are. The most effective managers are the ones who listen to learn before taking action and making changes.

Management is a continuous journey of learning and personal development as you’ll deal with all sorts of unique individuals, challenges, and situations. Cindy Rodriguez, marketing director at Statusphere, said, “in my experience, there isn’t a single path to master management, it’s an ongoing process. The ultimate key to successful management is having an open mind.” New managers can fine-tune their management skills by seeking feedback from their team, reflecting on failures and mistakes they’ve made, and having a strong relationship with their own manager where they can seek mentorship and advice.

Build Relationships And Establish Trust

Building trust isn’t an overnight process. New managers are often shocked that they’re not immediately trusted by their direct reports. However, trust takes time and the new manager needs to earn the trust of their team before they can get their buy-in.

One-on-ones are a great way to start building individual relationships with direct reports. Matt Brown, CEO at Hello Bonsai, emphasized, “one-on-ones are the secret weapon of great managers. However, it takes a while to develop a solid one on one foundation with your team members. For this reason, it’s important to start having one-on-ones with your team right away.”

Things that can be discussed in one-on-ones are:

  • Career goals
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Job expectations
  • What they expect from you as their manager
  • How they prefer feedback to be given
  • What they like and don’t like about their job

You’ll quickly notice that each individual has different needs and preferences in terms of feedback and communication. Therefore, you’ll want to adjust our management style accordingly. Eventually, you’ll begin to understand what each individual's strengths and weaknesses are, what motivates and excites them, and the areas in which they can be coached and developed.

Focus On Co-Creating, Not Dictating

The biggest mistake most managers make is using their power to dictate their demands rather than collaborating with their team. Employees want to be empowered not commanded. This is the quickest way to create a fear-based environment that hurts productivity, morale, performance, and results. Stephen Kohler, CEO of Audira Labs, said, “one of the now-defunct beliefs of managing people was that it was one-directional and top-down. Leadership should no longer be defined by titles, status, or salary, but instead defined by values, intent, and impact. The reality is, everyone is a leader in their own right, whether it be at home, at work, or in our communities.” He explained, “by co-creating with your team you help them determine how to communicate, measure success, understand what a healthy work-life balance looks like, or how to ask for help.”

Despite what you may think, it’s not your job to know everything, but it is your job to guide your employees and collaborate with them. A team is made up of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences which has equipped them with unique skills, perspectives, experiences, and expertise. For this reason, you’ll want to create an environment where your employees are comfortable sharing ideas, opinions, and respectfully challenging things. Not only does this lead to more innovative thinking, but it builds more confidence in team members due to their voices being heard.



Heidi Lynne Kurter

Forbes senior journalist, workplace culture consultant, leadership coach, domestic violence advocate, workplace bully activist and Corgi mom!