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Advice to New Managers

Posted on August 30, 2023
Illustrated image of a woman climbing the corporate ladder.

It is exciting to get promoted to a leadership role with management responsibilities! However, most new managers are not trained or groomed for that role, some figure things out with many bumps and bruises (to the ego) along the way, while others never quite get the hang of it to become good, strong managers.

A good manager provides support, encouragement, and feedback to their team. Essentially, they nurture them to grow and develop, even if that means ultimately they’ll leave the so-called nest. It takes time to grow into a good manager, and as already noted, few are “developed.” Instead, most are left to their own devices to learn and build management skills. So, if you have recently been promoted to a managerial role or you are seeking to take on such a role, here are some tips to help you succeed.

  • Listen – it is so important to listen to those who report to you. You need to understand what motivates, challenges, and excites them, as well as what frustrates, scares, and annoys them. You can’t be supportive if you make assumptions and don’t listen.
  • Get to know your team – the people who report to you are human beings with lives outside of their 9-5 roles. They may be mothers, aunts, daughters, sons, or husbands. They may be pet lovers or award-winning chess players. They might love nature or despise the heat and humidity. They might be an amazing cook or 4.0 tennis player. My point is that your team is dynamic and their world outside of their job influences their work life. Knowing a little about them outside of their working role will help you connect with them and be empathetic.
  • Be empathetic – You have to be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes, see the world or specific situation from the perspective of each of the people whom you manage. This helps you understand why your team may respond in a certain way, etc. It also helps you communicate with them.
  • Be available – When a manager is not present, the team feels it. Be present for your team, which means attend meetings, be available for questions, short catch-up meetings, as well as more formal 1:1 meetings. If you can’t spare time for them, then you need to examine what you are doing and talk with your manager about workload, expectations, etc. Your team needs you!
  • Recognize Achievements – call people out on your team whenever you get the chance. It makes them feel good to be acknowledged and it can help to elevate them to more senior people – remember, one of your responsibilities is to help people on your team grow and advance – giving them shout outs is a great way to help elevate them. And remember – though not the most important element, when your team succeeds, you look good as well.
  • Provide Constructive Criticism – everyone benefits from constructive and thoughtful feedback (as long as it is delivered in a respectful and encouraging manner). Providing feedback should be part of your 1:1 meetings. Nothing should be a surprise to someone who reports to you, you should be providing feedback on a regular basis. Always ask how you can help the person achieve the expectations you are setting!
  • This last tip has nothing to do with the individuals you manage, and everything to do with you! Observe how managers you admire manage their teams. Take note of the good and the bad. Reflect on your management skills – are you micromanaging too much or not providing enough guidance? Seek support from your manager to continue to hone your management skills. And if your manager is not giving you what you need, then find a mentor to support and nurture your growth as a manager. There is always room for improvement.


Anne Converse Willkomm
Associate Dean, Graduate College
Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Communication, College of Arts & Sciences
Drexel University
Posted in leadership-management-skills, professional-development-career-tips