Tips for Leading New Managers

by Alex Strathearn - reno aces Vice president of ticket sales
June 24, 2024

Let’s set the stage; you just hired or promoted your first person into a managerial role. You have promoted people before, but not into a managerial position. The first couple of weeks for a new manager can be stressful for them and for you. Changing over responsibilities, managing peer relationships, and even figuring out reporting expectations, can overwhelm a new manager. Great leaders want to make sure they set their teams up for success. If you have not had much experience in training new managers, this might be an informative read to give you a few tips on how to properly coach and train your managers. The first order of business is to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and potential growth opportunities for your new managers early on. Work experience and backgrounds are unique to everybody and getting ahead of green or red flags that a new hire might have can prove helpful overall.


The tips below are not “one-size-fits-all”, but if a few of these end up on a Post-it note in your office they can be beneficial in helping your new managers develop.. With that said, these tips are not “one-size-fits-all”. But if a few of these ends up on a Post-it note in your office, I am confident they can be beneficial in helping your new managers develop. 


Tip #1 - Meet early and meet often 


There is nothing harder for a new manager than trying to figure out how to prioritize the day-to-day in their new role. Managers need training just like a new salesperson or a new marketing coordinator would. Make sure that you are communicating, with absolute clarity, that you are there to help them (and that you are holding them accountable). Meeting often will help them understand that they can come to you with good news or bad news. 


Tip #2 - Let them create their OWN goals for their new role 


Do not squash brilliant ideas with your ego. Obviously, a new manager gets hired to take on tasks that are already embedded in your organizational structure. They know this and understand this. However, nothing suppresses creativity and motivation more than ideas being ignored. Allow your new manager to create their own goals for the business vertical they are managing, which  allows two things to happen. 

  • First, it allows you to coach them on the “big picture.” If their goals are not completely aligned with the goals of your company, department, etc., you need to make sure they get aligned quickly.  
  • Second, it manifests accountability in the new manager. If they create their goals, get feedback on their goals, then are tasked with carrying those goals out…their motivation to complete their goals is higher than if the goals are simply assigned to them. 

Tip #3 – Let them sweat the small stuff 


Contrary to what you might hear from most leaders, allowing your new manager to sweat small things is a beneficial exercise. Remember, you have hired them to be a set of eyes that you do not have. The small stuff might be below what your bandwidth allows, but it is not for your new manager. It’s an opportunity for additional accountability. Give them feedback when it comes but give them leeway to make the decision, they think is right. Some things might be worth their time (like correcting someone selling inaccurate information to a client) while other things might not. Their way is likely going to lead to failure here and there, but that is a net positive if coached right. 


Tip #4 - Bring them in on SOME strategic & high-level decisions 


Give your new managers some exposure to higher level decision making early on. This might be hard to hear for some and an afterthought for others…but your managers are going to disagree with you from time to time. This is good! By introducing strategic thinking to your new manager, you will notice them start to formulate their own opinions and eventually (and hopefully) challenge you on things. If done in a healthy manner, with healthy conversation, this should strengthen the foundation of the manager and help you both to align in a meaningful way. 


Tip #5 - The Peer Group Effect 


The peer-to-peer feedback loop can be tricky to navigate for a new manager. Oftentimes when promoted from within, new managers will end up being in an elevated role to close peers. Human nature tells us we are territorial creatures. We protect what is ours and unfortunately a chunk of that is fueled by our own ego. When making decisions about who to promote, be diligent about understanding who has a strong relationship with who. Although that should not hold too much weight in your decision making, it is important to consider. Changing hierarchy in peer groups can create animosity between members of the team. One person gets a promotion that another friend might have wanted. Boom…conflict. OR a new manager can start overcompensating and being too over the top to previous peers. Boom…conflict. 


A good solve for this  is to look six months ahead. If you see a rising star start to form, begin giving them projects that allow them to take a responsibility over a task. By slowly introducing this, both employees will have time to get comfortable in their own trajectory. That way when a new title and raise are earned, there are no cultural shocks surrounding the change. It also allows for healthy conversation with the un-promoted to help chart a path forward to allow them to meet their goals. *Note* Watch what happens to other employees when you give responsibility to one rising star…you might find someone unexpected to step up and ask for more.


Tip #6 - No News is Bad News


Think about it, if you woke up and turned on the TV (or pulled up your news app) and there was nothing to report, you would think something is VERY wrong. Well, this is no different in the professional setting either. Managers, just like entry-level employees, will always tell you the good news. But all too often, managers will leave out the details of the “bad news segments.” It is natural to fear getting blamed or being held accountable for adverse things happening. But the bad news reporting gap can be costly. Encourage sharing all news, good or bad. If it is good, great! If it is bad, great. Work with the manager to figure out a solution. Make sure that the manager knows that when s*** hits the fan, you both are on the same team. Reward the behavior, not the outcome.


Tip #7 - Demand Specificity 


This one is short and simple; demand specificity. At every turn. A project is not due “this week,” a project is “due Thursday at 4pm”. A product launch deadline is not “at the end of the month,” it is “On November 28th, at 12pm”. An employee is not running “a few minutes late,” they are “arriving at 9:15am and are 15 minutes late”. Leeway on specifics causes a lack of clarity and lack of clarity is bad. This also applies to all other levels of the organization.


Tip #8 - Build Good Habits 


The final tip is a very generic but one that can end up having a big impact on a new manager’s long-term success. Allowing for bad habits to form, in any endeavor really, is a pre-cursor of future failure. At this point, there should have been good enough habits formed that gave them the leg up in the interview process or promotion process. Make sure those good habits do not break down with more responsibility. Correct them if necessary. But always be looking out for them. Here are a few good managerial habits that come to mind:

  • Good organization 
  • Strong attention to detail 
  • Asking questions vs making assumptions 
  • Clear communication 
  • Bringing daily energy 
  • Maintaining integrity 
  • Having fun 
  • Healthy work life balance 

Hopefully, these tips provide ideas to consider and things to try with your team. Thank you for reading and best of luck to you and your next generation of leaders!