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An illustration of a businessman standing in front of an office The challenge of stepping up into a management role for the first time shouldn’t be underestimated. For a start, the expectations of your employer will change – as will the expectations of your colleagues, while your relationship with workers who were formerly on the same level as you will also shift. While it can all seem a bit much at the start, there’s no reason why you can’t be successful right from the off. So what do you need to consider to ensure you hit the ground running?

Understanding your new role

Naturally, one of the most important components that will enable you to succeed at a higher level is to understand exactly what your job involves. There might be more that goes on behind the scenes that you might not have been exposed to as someone who worked under a manager before, so do your research. If you are lucky enough to have a handover with the person who you are replacing, then ask as many questions as you can so you are clear over what the role entails and what the most effective ways are to do your duties. It might help you to make lists to ensure you don’t overlook anything. In time, this will all become natural, but there might be a lot to take in during the first few weeks, so a reference point could be invaluable. You also may benefit from additional training to bring you up to speed, especially in your early days. Consult with your own boss or HR department if you feel as though you might benefit from going on a course – they might even beat you to it and suggest it first.

Your relationship with colleagues

One trap that some new managers fall into is being as familiar with their workplace friends as they did before their promotion. However, this can compromise your position of authority, particularly if you are open with them about information they shouldn’t really have access to – confidential details about another colleague, for example. Similarly, you can’t show favouritism or bias against personnel you like or dislike, as this can impact on your integrity as a manager and affect how well a member of staff will work under you. You need to take an objective stance rather than operate on personal preferences – employees need to be able to trust you, so keeping an open mind is a key asset.

Leading a team for the first time

Of course, this can be easier said than done, but developing your own management style is all part of stepping up. Consider how you will motivate, develop and communicate with your team so you are getting the best out of them. Lead by example. You can’t expect to command respect or authority if you are continually messing around or procrastinating in your own tasks, so you can never switch off from your new role while in the company of your colleagues. Similarly, it’s important to recognise when you need to turn the pressure up – and by how much – on your workers. People respond differently to being hassled by their manager, so take each case individually to ensure you don’t end up causing more of a problem than a solution to looming deadlines or stuttering targets. Going into management for the first time is certainly a learn-as-you-go-along process, so don’t worry if you don’t tick all the boxes at first. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to ask for help – it’s much better to seek out advice when you’re struggling rather than give of the impression you know what you are doing and then fail completely.

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