Establishing Solid Authority When You Are a First-Time Manager
If you’re a first-time manager, or are going to be one soon, you already have a lot on your plate. However, building and maintaining your authority may be your biggest challenge. This is especially true if you’ve been promoted “from the ranks” and your former peers are now under you.
It’s all too easy for you to undermine your authority at the beginning and have to put additional energy into gaining much-needed respect. To avoid setting the wrong tone, take responsibility right from the start by staying confident and by providing clear instructions—all of which shows you’re invested in creating a positive team environment.
Getting out of the first-time manager mindset and becoming the boss
Becoming the one in charge can be intimidating for any professional, yet adopting the overall mindset of being the leader is important. One of the best ways first-time managers can do this is to show they can “walk the walk” instead of just “talking the talk.” Stay late if you ask employees to do the same … be available to talk if your staff needs assistance and stand up for them if issues arise with other teams. Employees will only begin respecting you as their new supervisor if you first show you respect your team as well.
Being the leader means being part of the team, but that doesn’t mean becoming everyone’s friend. A common mistake most first-time bosses make is trying to be too friendly with their teams. According to Entrepreneur, being supportive and approachable doesn’t mean attempting to be everyone’s buddy. This can be one of the hardest parts of being a boss. However, you need to navigate that fine line between being open to suggestions and letting workers take advantage of you. And, believe it … they’ll try to test you! Giving employees clear instructions and encouraging them to ask if they need further information can be small, but important, ways for you to show you’re friendly, open and a team player without negating your authority.
New managers should remember they don’t have to take on all of their team’s challenges and issues alone. Experts recommend that first time bosses, like yourself, follow your workplaces’ rules to establish authority. In addition, reach out to managers in higher positions within the company for advice. Employees will respect and support you as their new boss when it’s clear upper management has your back.