The most daunting step up the career ladder is often the precipitous move from employee to first time manager. And most employers and company decision makers actually underestimate the difficulty of this transition, which means they don’t always provide new managers with the training, coaching and preparation they need in order to successfully bridge the gap.
A huge percentage of new managers fail during their first year, so if you’re tackling a management role for the first time and you’re struggling to stay in control of your professional fate, you aren’t alone…but chances are, you’re on your own. Find your footing by adopting a mentor and conducting some independent research on management and leadership tactics. And if you’re being pulled in multiple directions and having difficulty completing your own work while overseeing the progress of others, keep these tips in mind.
1. Maximize the first and last hour of the day.
If you’re going to take a break and catch your breath, choose a few minutes in the middle of the day, not the beginning or the end. Most of us are at our best in the morning (as long as we have some strong coffee) so instead of spending this first hour “settling in”, hit your inbox hard. Use the last hour of your Monday to put Monday projects aside and turn your focus to Tuesday.
2. Know when to hold on tight and when to let go.
Some problems just don’t need to be solved. If you back up and get your bearings for a minute, you’ll realize that these problems (no matter how loudly and urgently they arrive on your desk) will solve themselves. Spotting these problems among the others will take talent and experience, but the sooner you can master this art, the more time and attention you’ll be able to devote to real problems—the kind nobody can solve but you.
3. Don’t stop moving.
Unless you’re officially checking out, going home, or off the clock, don’t stop moving. Use a five minute break between two larger issues to knock out a five-minute issue. Use a ten minute gap between one meeting and another to prepare for the third. Use your moments of strong focus to tackle big concerns and your moments of weariness and distraction to tackle mindless tasks. But whatever you decide to do during the next minute, hour, or second, do something.
4. Focus on faces.
When someone is talking to you, give that person your full, calm, polite, and unfrazzled attention. If you can’t do that right now, politely and formally put off the conversation until a later time.
For more on how to tackle the conflicting challenges of your new management role, reach out to the staffing experts at CSS.