When you start a new management position, you might feel conflicted. It can be intimidating to establish your authority among employees you've never worked with before or don't know very well.
If you want your team to trust and respect you, you need to build a professional relationship with them, learning about their interests and needs as workers. Whether you're in a new role at your existing company or joining a new company altogether, here are four tips for managing a new team from Vip Sandhir, CEO and founder of HighGround.
1. Schedule brief one-on-one meetings.
Get to know your workers individually and learn their strengths, weaknesses, goals and priorities. Familiarize yourself with your new team with one-on-one meetings so you can understand how best to manage them.
"By scheduling frequent meetings with employees, managers are proving that they care about their development," said Sandhir. "Plus, it gives managers the opportunity to communicate changes so that the entire team is working towards shared goals."
2. Determine how employees prefer to give and receive feedback.
Feedback allows workers to understand what is expected of them, what they're doing well and what they need to work on. While the process might be intimidating to your employees, as a manager, you can alleviate tension by listening to your team's preferences.
"Personalize how you deliver feedback based on employees' needs," said Sandhir. "During these conversations, managers should also determine how each employee prefers to receive feedback and tailor their management style accordingly."
When you provide feedback, make sure each member knows that you have their best interests in mind, both professionally and personally. This will make them more perceptive and encourage them to share their own feedback.
"Give employees the opportunity to provide honest feedback on managers' performance so they can course-correct where necessary," said Sandhir.
He recommended asking questions about their wants and needs from the company, issues they face, their workload, etc. to prompt a conversation.
"Act as a coach instead of a dictator to ensure employees feel comfortable providing feedback on their own performance – as well as your own progress as their supervisor," he added.
3. Establish open communication.
Open communication breeds new ideas and collaboration, which is crucial for any team. Each person should feel they have a voice in the company, no matter their position.
"It's an important step toward establishing that the new manager simply isn't a taskmaster but an advocate for team members' professional development and growth," said Sandhir.
4. Gauge current roadblocks and offer solutions.
As a new manager, you might feel discouraged by any shortcomings or complications you face off the bat, but it's important to acknowledge any problems that arise and work with your team to solve them.
"Ideally, managers aren't going into situations where they're blindsided by serious issues," said Sandhir. "However, if they're unexpectedly confronted with problems on a team, they might actually be at an advantage. New managers arrive with a clean slate and can ask honest questions about the issues."
Don't be afraid to turn to your workers for support or guidance. You are a team, after all.