Monday, May 12, 2014

1st Time Managers - Challenges

The transition from an individual contributor to a manager for the first time can be difficult as new managers are presented with an array of demanding challenges. Managing the relationship with former colleagues and friends, learning to delegate effectively, managing the relationship with higher levels of management and providing constructive feedback and criticism are all challenges that a first time manager must overcome to be successful.


A major challenge that new managers face is managing their former colleagues, especially those colleagues who are friends. Many former colleagues may resent the new manager for being promoted instead of them and may feel that the new manager lacks the skills and expertise to successfully manage the team. Without action this can lead to former colleagues becoming de-motivated and frustrated, which will have a negative impact on their performance. The new manager must seek to build upon and adapt the relationships they had built before becoming a manager, to prevent colleague resentment.

In addition to this, managing the relationship with those former colleagues that were friends, adds to the challenge faced by first-time managers. A common mistake made by first-time managers is to give or be perceived as giving preferential treatment to their friends with the team. This not only puts friends in an awkward position but also damages the relationship between the new manager and other colleagues, which again could result in declining performances.  Communication issue also arise with this challenge, the first-time manager may stand chatting, gossiping or even sharing snippets of sensitive information, with their friends lower down the organization. This set a bad example to other employees, as the manager should be the role setting a good examples for others to follow. In overcoming this challenge, the first-time manager should look to change the relationship between themselves, former colleagues and friends they now manage, they can do this by setting clear boundaries as soon as possible and ensuring they are a role model for both their team and within the organization.