A recent article in Harvard Business Review highlights three common mistakes that new managers are most likely to make, as well as the steps they can take to avoid them and hit the ground running as an effective business leader.
Specifically, article author Heidi Grant Halvorson, associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School, identifies the following issues:
Being overconfident: While it’s certainly important to have – and demonstrate – that you have the confidence needed to get the job done, being overconfident can backfire spectacularly by causing a manager to be under-prepared and set unrealistic goals. Further, an overconfident person can prove unpopular with coworkers as they are perceived as talking a good talk, but not having the skills to back it up. With this in mind, Halvorson suggests that new managers walk a fine line between exuding confidence without veering into cockiness. To achieve this middle ground, she recommends that new managers exhibit some modesty with respect to their skills and abilities.
Being too business-like: A new manager – especially one that has been promoted from within the company – may feel it is necessary to take on a more business-like demeanor to match their new role, but studies suggest that employees are actually more receptive to a manager that is warm and open with their colleagues. Showing warmth, perhaps by offering compliments or making kind gestures, can play a key role in building trust with employees, which in turn makes for a better manager-employee relationship, Halvorson notes.
Keeping control of emotions: Let’s face it, no one likes a hot head, and they are particularly undesirable when they come in the form of a manager who is quick to anger or pass judgement in the face of a problem. While everyone has their own “brand of crazy,” Halverson suggests that it is particularly important for new managers to keep their crazy under wraps so as to demonstrate self-control and help build trust within the team.