We all know there is a weak spot in everything that exists. For a tree, the weak spot is the limb. For our careers, it’s a new job, especially a promotion into management.
The reason it is a weak spot, is that we arrogantly think that what got us here will continue to serve us well going forward. That thinking is the trap. We fail to realize that with each promotion, the job is different, as well as the expectation of us in that new and higher position. Oops!
Let’s look at some rookie mistakes:
Failure to understand the job.
This may sound odd, but a big mistake is not fully understanding your job as a manager. Job descriptions vary wildly and when you are standing off to the side, it’s easy to see only the more superficial elements to a job. You don’t really know it until you’re in it.
Making your employees your friends.
While it’s great to work well and garner the respect of your employees, you are crossing a line when you make them your buddy. Perhaps the line isn’t a legal one or even policy, but you will have to make tough decisions that will impact others. You may make bad decisions because of it and even if you don’t, you risk some major backlash.
Not recognizing that you must change.
Even if you are promoted for the same company and department you’ve been in, you simply must change. The job is not the same as the last one you had no matter how similar it might seem.
No plan for integration.
There’s a reason why you think about training a new employee – because they have things to learn. So do you. Everyone in a new job has a period of integration, which means things to learn.
Here’s how to avoid these mistakes:
Make a learning/integration plan.
While you’re at it, figure out what your job is and how you will approach it. Don’t assume you know everything. You will receive respect if your employees see your openness and desire to learn. Sure, you do know a few things and you should do those well to start with.
There is a difference between the two. Your people will love you if you are available, friendly and easy to talk to. If you personally have an issue separating the two, then seek advice for approaches that can help you.
Plan for a win.
As you are learning your job, you should be finding many problems or challenges to solve. Take note of those and plan to visibly solve some “low hanging fruit”. It will help establish your credibility as a new manager and confirm in management’s mind that they made a good decision.
You can take a very real weak spot and fortify it with the right approach. When you do, you will ensure your success.