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Leadership and Management Mistakes First-Time Managers Make

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If you’ve been promoted to a management position for the first time, you’re probably feeling pretty terrified right now. While stepping into a managerial role is a huge accomplishment, it’s the beginning of a set of arduous challenges. If you’re not quite sure how to smoothen the transition, here are some common leadership and management mistakes most first-time managers make, which when avoided can help you get off a pretty good start.

leadership and management mistakes

Holding back. First-time leaders are often paralyzed by fear that they will come across as draconian. Obviously, you cannot please everyone. Besides, you’ve been promoted because your bosses see something promising in you. So, lead on, because if you don’t, your team is likely to question your authority and the ability to get things done. Take risks. Don’t be afraid of things backfiring. Find a mentor, if you feel you may flounder while taking certain decisions. The first couple of months will be a solid learning period, so learn as much as you can firsthand ensure you don’t repeat any of those mistakes again.

Failing to delegate. Leaders who can’t delegate contingently demonstrate a lack of faith in their team. New to the role, first-time managers take ownership of projects when they believe only they can do it right, or in some cases, when they fear they would be outshined by their subordinates. People want to feel their contributions at the workplace are valuable, so when you delegate tasks, you’re showing faith in their ability to execute on it responsibly. This kind of support and interaction from the leader gives employees a reason to step up and build up their strengths.

Failing to set clear expectations. Many new managers often avoid communicating clearly about expectations as they don’t want to be seen as authoritative or the bad guy. People cannot read your mind, so unless you don’t spell out the expectations, they are not going to know what is expected of them. Leaders must provide a clearly articulated vision and set realistic expectations to make sure employees are motivated for performing and attaining their goals.

Expecting employees to do everything as you say. You’ve likely been promoted to your job because you’re good at what you do. But, you cannot expect employees to blindly follow the “do as I say,” advice. It would simply sound invalid and immature. If you want your people to follow in your footsteps, model good behavior. If you expect employees to show up to work on time, then exemplify that behavior. If you want your employees to act professional, then exemplify that behavior.

Turning a blind eye. You may have been fully aware of what is going on, and yet you may have turned a blind eye because you believed your employees deserve the benefit of the doubt. You may also fear that your decision may affect your team and department. Moreover, new managers often delay making a decision. They believe that it may negatively affect their reputation, as well as the entire team and the department.

Failure to reward employees. New managers are often unsure about the best way to recognize employee performance, and so they do nothing. This could harbor a disrespect for employees in some way. Managers should talk to a mentor and learn how to reward employees.

As the list of leadership and management mistakes shows, first-time leaders fail due to certain barriers. Such leadership barriers inhibit their ability to lead confidently. Being a leader is an ongoing learning experience, and it’s never going to be easy. But you can always learn, set expectations, and shift your focus on things that matter. Stick to these pearls of wisdom and pretty soon you'll become a great leader.

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