People Management - 5 Things that new managers should focus on first​

If your mentee is managing others for the first time, and would like support on how to be a good manager here are five areas you can discuss with them to help them establish themselves and think about their approach.


1. Establish a leadership philosophy

The bedrock of great leadership and management is a strong philosophy that you can believe in. Do you feel excited and empowered because you now have the positional authority to tell other people what to do — or are you more excited by the prospect of helping others to thrive, grow and maybe reach the same level as you?

Tom Peters: Real leadership said great leadership is about producing other leaders. A great leader, Peters said, is someone committed to bringing others along. Having solid and defined leadership values will get other people to buy into your management. Those values will also guide your decision making and strategy.


2. Focus on the day-to-day practicalities of good management

The long-term goal of successful management is to build a great team around you to create the next generation of leaders who can — just possibly — surpass your own performance. Good leaders are also good mentors. 

But the day job of management involves task management, hitting targets, allocating limited resources and managing internal challenges. The big picture is always important, but new managers/leaders should ensure at least 75% of their time is being invested in the daily challenges of doing their job as oppose to idealising.

You can’t be a great manager, without being great at your job.


3. Be clear about your communication and your top priorities

Your communication skills will be tested like never before in your first managerial role. During meetings, be as clear as possible about your priorities by asking yourself: Is this meeting intended to inform, get input, or get approval? (By stating that right up front, you’ll help others understand the context.) 

As often as possible during interactions with your team, take advantage of the opportunity to clarify your overarching purpose and which of your top priorities are required to fulfil that purpose. Be consistent about your purpose and your priorities. 

Clear communication with your team members will be vital. Always ensure you ask yourself when communicating (both written and spoken) is this message clear, concise and easy to interpret?


4. Set common standards and stick to them

Much can be solved and accomplished if people agree on and practice a set of common standards. 

Your values define the standards you keep. Partly your standards should be defined by your leadership values. It’s important you maintain these standards consistently. If ‘compassionate’ management is a key value, then this must be demonstrated in an unbiased why in all your team interactions.

Standards also relate to the rules, structures and processes you choose to implement. Be clear about what you expect from people, and ensure your expectations are fair and consistently implemented.


5. Remember that it’s okay to be scared and vulnerable

So much of entrepreneurship, management, and leadership involves walking a tightrope between vulnerability and conviction. None of us can ever be completely confident that we’re 100% on the right track, yet as a manager you will be required to inspire confidence and deliver decisions. As a manger/leader people will look to you ‘to make the call’. 

this does not mean you need to soak up an unending torrent of self-doubt because you aren’t totally sure.

For new leaders and managers, giving team members the confidence that decisions are being made in a balanced, thoughtful way is vital. Being decisive is important. But admitting to yourself, and sometimes others, that you aren’t totally sure, are taking an educated guess and aren’t a clairvoyant that gets everything right does not make you bad at your job. Actually it makes you better. 


The MenteeMe Team