Two Guidelines to Succeed as a New Manager

A giant hand points to the word "Success"

New manager training can give you all sorts of helpful advice on how to succeed as a new manager. Soak up all you can. But when you’re feeling overwhelmed and as if there is just too much to learn all at once, we have a couple of guidelines that will keep you on track to be the best manager you can be as you earn your stripes and gain real-time experience. The two tips?

1. Be available to your staff.
2. Be consistent.

If this sounds oversimplified, here is the “rest of the story.”

Thanks to Google’s efforts to beef up the skills of their managers, we have some data on what really matters. Google was convinced that the better the managers, the better the workflow and employee engagement. They determined that a study of how to improve the performance of their managers would be not only worthwhile but actually essential to the future of their business.

Google used multiple reports at their disposal, including the wording from employee nominations for best managers, performance reviews and surveys. Then they looked for repeated phrases which would begin to define the qualities of those managers who were most admired and, they hoped, most effective. The result was a list of 8 characteristics of top managers.

Surprisingly, the results were not leading edge or even unfamiliar. The habits of top managers were similar to what we in the management training field have always proposed: caring about and for your employees, providing development opportunities, setting clear expectations and team goals, etc. But what was interesting was what did NOT matter so much. Keep in mind that Google is one of the world leaders in high tech. What did not matter so much to employees as they rated the effectiveness of their managers was their manager’s technical expertise. What DID matter were the soft skills of their managers.

Google’s in-depth study of management helps us all put teeth into defining best practices for new and experienced managers alike. Employees want to be heard. They want a manager who listens and who cares. They want to be able to share their ideas, opinions and concerns. They want a manager who can give them constructive feedback and coach them to improved performance. Employees also want to be treated fairly and consistently. They want a manager who does not play favorites, whose ethics drive decisions, who establishes standards for performance and holds everyone accountable, and who appreciates the contributions of all team members.

So, to begin your life as a new manager, start right: lend an ear and follow through on what you say.