4 Avoidable Obstacles to New Manager Success

a business man faces three huge obstacles

So much has been written about new manager training and how important it is for organizations to successfully transition individual contributors to new managers once they are promoted. And, we agree, new manager training done right is essential to navigating from the role of managing yourself to the role of managing others. 

But while management training can teach you the leadership skills to do it right, beware of the ways to do it wrong. Here are four common mistakes of new managers…the obstacles to their success. 

New managers are apt to incorrectly assume that:

  1. Their new manager title automatically gives them authority.
    Yes, new managers can have authority over their team, but true leadership derives not from the manager title but from the respect and trust they earn over time. New managers need to first set an example of their competence to get things done, their integrity in interactions, and their allegiance and commitment to the overall goals.

  2. They can now make decisions autonomously.
    With their new title, new managers often mistakenly believe that they will be able to wield significant power. But what they find is that they are hostage to multiple stakeholders that need attention and nurturing. Of course, they need to deal with and solve the problems within their team. What they are often surprised to learn is that they are now in a web of relationships…up, down and sideways. They need to negotiate their way through this web in order to successfully lead their team forward.

  3. Their team will automatically comply.
    New managers quickly learn that team members will not simply follow orders as they had expected. Instead, team members look to their new boss for reasons to commit to them and the team goals. Most employees are not at work to blindly follow a dictator but to join as a team and drive together toward a common and meaningful goal. New managers need to learn how to work with the team to create a shared goal and inspire their commitment to achieving it.

  4. Good individual relationships matter most.
    Positive one-on-one relationships matter but, ultimately, it is the success of the team that is the measure of a manager’s success. Yes, go ahead and work with your team members individually so you learn what they care about and where they excel. At the same time, you need to build a purposeful team culture. This is the way to harness group energy to solve problems and make decisions. Take advantage of team diversity. Encourage open communication and still remain available for individual coaching.