Resource: Featured Articles
5 Success Tips for First-Time Managers
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
People who are taking on the role of manager for the first time may or may not have already heard of the Peter Principle. For those that haven't, in short, the Peter Principle states that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."
Written in 1969, it refers to the idea that the higher up you move in positions, the less exemplary of an employee you'll be. Of course, it's not a scientifically proven theory, but it's a theory.
Perhaps you've seen real-life examples of it with one of your own bosses who just didn't seem to know what he or she was doing. Or maybe you wondered how the head of the company was older than your grandfather and still holds the highest seat.
To put the Peter Principle into context now, those who have been working somewhere for a while and doing an excellent job, chances are, the promotion they've been hoping for is on its way for them to demonstrate their own level of incompetence.
It's not uncommon, however, for people to be put in a position that is better than where they were but seemingly more difficult than they think they can handle. Many managers are put there and expected to lead people, only now a new, smarter, maybe even more experienced group; that can be intimidating.
But if everyone buckled under the pressure, the world would have too many sheep for too few shepherds. These tips can help ease the transition of hanging on to as much competency in your new position as you had in you last.
1) Be the Boss Without Being Bossy.
Unless the team can collectiving look to you as their leader, don't assume authority. You're still the new guy, remember? While you may have been put in charge of a handful of people, you still have to be able to work with them. The last thing you'd want is to get off on the wrong foot. As a leader, it's your responsibility to ensure that the atmosphere is harmonic since the people you're managing might not have a say in the decision-making. Really, you're not a leader unless they see you as one. The way to achieve that is through respect and humility.
2) Open Your Ears and Offer Feedback.
You may not fully understand your role until you get the hang of it with experience. Until you have a good grip on managment skills, you should focus your attention on your colleagues. Listen to them intently and pay attention to other managers. By learning from and taking in the guidance of others, you can take an active role in avoiding being another one of the Peter Principle statistics.
3) Know Your Teammates Inside and Out.
Understanding your teammates strenghts and weaknesses can help you better manage them. Have a genuine interest in who they are as people as well as employees. Meet with them individually and get acquainted with their own goals, skills, work styles and any other information pertinent to their work ethics. This allows you to approach your duties more effectively and efficiently.
4) Never Abandon Responsibility.
What would you think of a captain who abadons ship without his crew amidst a crisis? Apply that same idea to you. No one's perfect, not even managers. Especially since you're a rookie, you're bound to make a few errors. As a manager, however, repeating those offenses will look much worse than in a lower position and will have a greater effect on others' perception of you as a leader. Therefore, don't add insult to injury by forfeiting your integrity as well. Own up to your actions and conquer those mistakes. As a leader, you must set an example for your teammates and unless you want them playing the blame game, you have to be the one to make the first move.
5) People Pleasers = Push Overs
It's best to now accept the fact that you're not going to please everyone, and that's not your job. It's up to you to make decisons that will benefit the majority and the company. There might always be that select few who are going to disagree with your judgments which is inevitable. You can't be a leader, though, if you're always trying to bend over backwards for everyone's particualr needs or viewpoints.
Keep in mind that the company and those above you put you in that position based on your own performance, so trust in yourself. Of course, that doesn't mean you should disregard input from your team and colleagues, just make sure you've come to a decision that was well-thought out and is the right choice.
Even if you're not the most competent manager, you'll probably be able to hang on to your job longer by sticking to your guns. Don't fear the challenges, rise to them and eventually you'll have an even higher position to feel incompetent about!