Helpful Tips For First-Time Managers

Being promoted to manager is a big deal. Not everyone understands all that goes into this new responsibility, and sometimes it can seem daunting to be in a leadership role. Here are five tips to help make you more successful.

Understand the business

Spend time with senior leaders in the company when you can and be sure to ask questions. Learn about strategy and what your team can do to support the business overall. Managers need to be prepared to address questions from the direct reports on the team. To do this correctly and confidently, you need to be prepared to handle everything from HR issues to questions about company culture. The only way to know the answers is to learn them first.

Work for your team

First-time managers may think the role is all about him or her and how the team can benefit them. Good leaders understand it’s important to change a “me first” attitude into one of servant leadership. Managers are more effective when they empower their team instead of trying to convince them to empower you.

Stay in the trenches

Those who earn a promotion to manager likely got the role because of the efforts they put in at lower levels. Once you become a manager, it doesn’t mean you get to walk away from the hard work, nor should you. Want to earn the respect of direct reports? Show them what it takes to get into your position and be willing to do any job at any time to help them move forward.

Actions are stronger than words

In a management role, it’s more about what you do and less about what you say. While clear and active communication is important, don’t put yourself in a position where your actions do not align with your message. For example, don’t tell your direct reports how important it is to get to meetings on time and then consistently arrive late or reschedule the meetings you set.


Those who put in extra effort to move up in the company can overload themselves when they first become a manager. When you have to lead a team, you can’t be involved with everything all the time. While you can stay well-informed, you must learn how to delegate responsibilities. The best part of mastering this skill is that when you let others lead, they can grow their abilities and perspective. This, in turn, makes them feel valuable, gives them a feeling of ownership and when they recognize how important their role is, it ensures an optimal outcome of what you need your team to accomplish.