How to Survive Your First Day as a New Manager

By Christina Attrah 

Perhaps you’ve been promoted to management for the first time in your working career or you’re starting fresh at a new company. Not only does your new position fill you with excitement, but it’s also the start of some pretty hefty responsibility.

A study by Leadership IQ states how only 46% of new-hired employees will fail within 18 months, with 17% of these new candidates lacking the necessary motivation to do their jobs. That’s why we believe it’s incredibly important to make sure your first day is a blast.

Your first working day as a manager offers you an exciting yet challenging opportunity to getting off at the right foot with your team. Our guide will help you transition into your managerial role, settle in to your demanding duties and gain respect from your team.

Meet and Greet the Right Way

Expressing excitement to work with your co-workers encourages feelings of value and collaboration. People, even your colleagues, will respond well to a positive attitude which in turn will allow you to integrate and get to know the team you will be coaching.

Get to know your colleagues’ outside interests as well as their role within the company. By knowing them on a (semi)-personal level you will build a foundation of trust and openness that will make your colleagues feel welcome and willing to work with you.

Dress to Fit In

If it’s a casual office, don’t show up in a suit, and vice versa! As cliché as the saying goes: “first impressions count,” and it’s highly applicable in cases like these.

If you’re unsure what to wear on your first day then ask your hiring manager about the dress code. Alternatively, if you have been promoted and already know the dress code, don’t feel the need to wear full suits (unless this is your job’s dress code) as this can pass off as intimidating to your existing colleagues.

Be Prepared to Run

Unexpected things can happen, even on your first day. This means you may need to rise to the occasion and show your initiative. This doesn’t mean you should jump into every opportunity, especially if you’re fully unaware of how a particular process works. But, if you feel you can use your current skills to solve an issue to deter a disaster from happening, rise to the occasion and show your colleagues the team player in you.

Listen, Learn and Be Proactive

Although there might be an occasion where you need to run before you walk, during times where you sit down and really absorb the information, make sure you’re actively listening. Active listening involves asking questions in response to what you’re being told about your role. If something doesn’t sit right or you don’t understand a process – ask. Even if you think the answer might be blatantly obvious, it’s better to ask than to not know at all.

Make notes you can refer to later, especially if you know you’re going to be left to your own devices for a long period of time.

Be a Model

Knowing your boss’s and company’s expectations will help a great deal here. As a manager you will be a figure to look to in times of need, so you need to have it together! Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will you set the energy/mood during team-leading activities?
  • What purpose will your meetings have?
  • What are the goals of your team?
  • How will you ensure every colleague has their say and is heard?
  • Why do people look up to my superior?

Focus on the Boss

Your boss as well as your fellow colleagues will be teaching you the ins and outs of management life. You need to be clear of what the boss expects from you:

  • What are your main goals on the job?
  • What decisions do you want to/should be involved in?
  • How should you share information with your boss?

As your days progress your boss will be giving you feedback. Don’t take this lightly and definitely do not take it personally. You will make mistakes, especially if this is your first managerial position. Be proactive and use your constructive criticism to improve on your career.

Manage Expectations

It is your job to offer support and encouragement to your team and a lot of this comes down to mutual understanding. Having clear expectations gives your employees a sense of clarity. This means any objectives you do get to set on your first day must be clear, achievable and feasible within a set time-frame.

Your own expectations need to be discussed with your manager, too. If he os she is aware that you’re apprehensive and need development in leadership or goal-setting, then your superior is responsible for ensuring your development takes place.

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Christina Attrah
Christina Attrah is a marketing executive for Armstrong Appointments – a recruitment agency based in South Africa with over 10 years in the field. Armstrong Appointments recruit in fields ranging from FMCG to Market Research.

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