Entering a New Management Role: 3 Steps to Make a Good Start

Entering a new management role is always rather daunting. You are an unknown quantity to colleagues, and there is a steep learning curve to climb before you can begin adding value to your organisation.

The good news is that transitions give you a chance to start afresh, advance your career, and to make much-needed changes within an organisation. The bad news is that transitions are also periods of vulnerability – you are under a high degree of scrutiny, and opinions of your effectiveness begin to form surprisingly quickly.

Whether you are excited or apprehensive, success or failure in the first few months is a strong predictor of success or failure in the job overall.

Here are 3 steps to help you make a good start in your new management role…

1. Get to grips with the culture

When entering a new management role you need to start learning as quickly as possible. This means understanding the organisation’s markets, technologies, systems and structures – but crucially also its culture and politics: the informal side of how things get done.

According to Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days (perhaps the definitive book on the subject of transitions), lack of cultural adaptation is the most common reason newly-hired managers fail in their new roles.

If you’ve already been hired, then you have to hope that your recruiters sensed that you’d be a good cultural fit. Once you arrive, it is up to you to make the mental break from your old job, and adapt to the cultural environment of the new role.

2. Ask for input

One mistake new managers make is to assume they have all the answers, or to impose themselves too much, too early on. Instead seek to pool ideas and pay attention to others from the start, especially those who have already been at the organisation for some time.

According to D. Michael Abrashoff, author of It's Your Ship, one of the most effective strategies for new managers is simply asking existing team members for their opinions.

Seek their thoughts on any major problems, or for any ideas they may have. Making time for your team and showing that you take their opinions seriously is vital for building engagement and driving an innovative, collaborative culture.

3. Have an inclusive plan for moving forward

The fact that you are in a transition means that everyone else in your team is too. Make sure you keep them in the loop.

Once things begin to settle you can start to articulate your vision for moving forward a little more confidently. This should be a vision with specific focus areas, goals and targets and should include all members of your team. Make sure you show concern for their roles and individual careers – you are on their side, not merely their “manager”.

Also seek to build alliances and join discussions with other managers in different areas of the organisation. This sort of horizontal networking, vital for any business in today’s fast-changing world, will improve your understanding of the organisation and your ability to fit the work and capability of each member of your team into the bigger picture of the business – relevant to your own progression as much as theirs moving forward.

Management Training

At LDL we provide management training to help new managers develop the skills required to effectively lead others. If you or your organisation are interested in finding out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

If you are already firmly placed in a management role, and in particular a sales management role, you might like to read this: “What’s Your Sales Training Process? 3 Steps to Getting the Most out of New Recruits”.

A guest article by Tom Fielder - Marketing Manager at LDL, Leadership Development Ltd. LDL is a soft skills training consultancy specialising in the development of sales, leadership, negotiation and presentation skills excellence. Tom researches and writes for LDL about fresh approaches to training, with a particular focus on its specialist areas.

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