Top Tips for a First-Time Manager

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In almost any field, advancing up your career ladder means that sooner or later you’ll be responsible for supervising other people. While being promoted into your first management position may seem daunting, following some tried-and-true guidance will set you up for success. Here are some of the top tips when you’re a first-time manager in your company.

Understand Company Expectations

Because you’ve been working for your company in a lesser capacity, you’re already familiar with its goals and performance expectations. Connecting with other managers and seeking mentorship from your direct report will help you better understand how your new leadership role fits into the big picture of company success.

Don’t forget that as a manager, you also take on the responsibility of protecting the company and its employees. For that reason, be sure to spend time engaging with your human resources department to understand laws and regulations that are applicable in your workplace. Supporting HR compliance is an important part of any manager’s job, so you should be completely clear on what is expected of you.

Pace Yourself

As an underling, you likely identified areas that were ripe for improvement in your department; it may have even been this type of initiative that earned you a promotion into management. Once you move into your role as a first-time manager, it’s tempting to assert yourself and begin implementing too many changes, too quickly.

While being proactive is important, so is pacing yourself. Otherwise, you risk burning yourself out or diminishing staff morale. Before making sweeping changes, take the time to assess processes from your new managerial perspective so you truly understand what works and what needs tweaking. Then, initiate necessary improvements slowly and methodically, so both you and your team comfortably adapt to the changes.

Connect and Get Feedback

Building rapport and strong professional relationships with your staff is key to success. One of the most beneficial managerial styles you can adopt is to view yourself as someone who supports your team, rather than the other way around.

As soon as possible after moving into your leadership role, schedule one-on-one meetings with your employees. Discussing current tasks, aspirations, and interests gives you insight into each staff member’s skillset and level of engagement. You’ll have a better idea of who is open to change, and who will need more handholding as you implement new plans. You’ll also learn who is best suited to handle assignments you’re now responsible for handing out, so your team operates at peak performance.

Maintain regular communication with everyone on your team and encourage feedback regarding new projects and procedures. Keeping yourself open and available for comments, questions, and clarifications helps you establish yourself as a leader and not just someone who’s there to hand out orders.


While accepting a promotion into management may feel like a scary undertaking, preparing yourself for handling the role will go a long way toward alleviating your anxiety. By following these tips, you’ll be much more comfortable and successful in your first leadership position.

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Craig Zedwick
I'm a chemical engineer and operations leader, but in my spare time I love technology, building computers, and DIY projects. I like to dive deep into researching new topics, so my articles tend to focus on that same level of detail to help others like me to learn as much as they can.