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Avoiding Beginner Mistakes as a New Manager

Even when management is the long-term goal, switching into that role isn’t easy.

I work for a company that prides itself on upward mobility. That means that I’ve worked for a lot of managers of a lot of different experience levels.

Switching into a management role may come naturally for some, but for most, switching out of the worker mindset comes with some difficulty. The good news is that lots have done it, and there is a lot to learn from those past experiences. Common mistakes like failing to set a good example for your employees, not providing appropriate feedback, and micromanaging can be easy to avoid if the work is put in to do so.

Be a role model

Even though a manager is no longer in the role of a worker, they still need to display all of the traits that they want to see from the people who work for them. A manager should not ask their employees to be anything that the manager is unwilling to be themselves.

When it comes to being a role model, think less about the work that’s being done itself. Instead, think of traits like punctuality, professionalism, and passion.

The manager sets the work environment. A passionate manager will encourage passion in their employees. Professionalism in a manager will encourage professionality in their employees.

Further, communicating openly with employees as a manager will pave the road to facilitating better communication all around. That’s key to getting the feedback needed to improve.

Managers should also encourage their workers and be supportive of them.

As a new manager, it’s important to keep in mind that employees are looking to you for leadership now.

Give and get feedback

Giving feedback is something that might slip through the cracks when a new manager is just moving up from the worker role.

New managers may not be used to having to give employees feedback, so it’s often forgotten. But letting employees know how they’re doing, the good and the bad, is an essential part of the communication between manager and employee.

Regular one-on-one meetings with employees can be a good way to get a dialogue going, and it’s helpful to have time allotted to learn more about each employee’s goals and needs, as well as to get feedback as a manager.

However, a manager shouldn’t wait for a meeting to give feedback. It’s important to take advantage of teaching moments as they come, for several reasons.

There’s no reason to wait to make changes for the better. For one, if a manager waits to bring up a mistake that the employee made for a later time, it may be irrelevant by then. Secondly, the mistake may get made several times over before it’s brought up at that point.

Saving negative feedback all for one meeting can lead to undue stress, too.

Instead, practice instructing employees to fix their mistakes as they come up. Rather than presenting it as negative feedback, managers can use the opportunity to help their employees learn.

It’s just as important for managers to be able to receive feedback, too.

Being able to take constructive criticism graciously will allow employees to feel more comfortable coming to their managers with problems. And those problems would go unresolved if the manager was never made aware of them.


A manager’s primary role is to delegate tasks to their employees.

At times, it may feel easier to get something done yourself rather than explain how it’s done so that someone else can do it, or you may enjoy completing the task yourself.

However, it’s vital for a manager to prioritize their tasks appropriately so that they can get everything done, and it’s important for employees to be given the opportunity to learn.

Barring the employee from that opportunity by completing the task themselves can come across as micromanagement.

Proper delegation gives employees the autonomy they like while freeing up the manager’s schedule to complete other high-priority tasks.

When you’re new to management, or even just working with a new set of employees, starting out can be nerve-wracking.

One trait that can help one to best achieve all the goals outlined here is good self-confidence.

Many of the issues I’ve had with managers have stemmed from their lack of self-confidence. Problems like seeing new ideas as personal attacks, refusing to share new information, and taking over a task from an employee all stem from a lack of self-esteem.

No one likes managers who are full of themselves either, but a manager with true self-esteem will be able to accept criticism and make improvements, as well as guide their employees confidently.