Team of four coworkers standing huddled around a tablet.
From establishing boundaries to honing mentorship abilities, there are various skills that new and first-time managers need to learn and develop. — Getty Images/10'000 Hours

As a first-time manager, you’re entering a role with huge responsibilities. One day you’re just doing your job, and the next day you’re in charge of co-workers, inventory reports, and hourly cash flow. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. But there are core skills you can work on to give an excellent first impression and develop better workflows. Take a proactive approach to your skill set by focusing on five management skills.

Boundaries and multi-channel communication

Your commitment to communication is one reason you were hired for the job. But this talent should be continually evaluated and improved. Moreover, you may need to adjust your methods or expectations and tailor them to your company’s culture.

Think about how team members communicate with you. These may include face-to-face conversations, in-person or virtual meetings, email, collaboration platforms, or project management software. The goal is to achieve a balance that gives everyone a voice while respecting individual boundaries.

Let’s say you set up a Slack channel for non-emergency questions or issues and provide your cell number for priority communications. Decide how you will handle different situations. For instance, what happens when a few employees ping your mobile phone for everything, from last-minute time-off requests to project instructions? How will you handle technology-adverse team members who won’t speak up unless they’re alone with you? Or those who text at all hours?

[Read more: 5 Smart Strategies for Communicating With Your Employees]

Purposeful, evidence-based decision-making

A management role involves constant decision-making. These can be in-depth, such as changing your company’s approach to customer service, or slightly mundane, like deciding whether to pay a higher price for toilet paper or choose the cheaper option. You’ll also face on-the-spot judgments involving employee terminations and customer disputes.

Good decision-makers have soft skills like creativity, leadership, collaboration, and analysis. The combination helps you make an informed, rational decision. In nearly all cases, it’s best to start with the facts. Forage said, “Focusing on the facts is a great way to learn and identify your biases.”

Concentrate on business outcomes by answering these questions:

  • What is the problem you need to solve?
  • When should you take action?
  • What are possible solutions?
  • How much do solutions cost in resources and labor?
  • Who is affected by your decision?

Good decision-makers have soft skills like creativity, leadership, collaboration, and analysis. The combination helps you make an informed, rational decision.

Employee-centric coaching and mentorship skills

Dan Westmoreland, Director of Inbound Marketing at Deputy, told Business News Daily, “Your job as a manager is to develop people.” This may surprise new supervisors who didn’t plan on being coaches or mentors.

Indeed, author and executive coach Peter Dudley told Rasmussen University, “New managers especially think that managing is about being in charge and making decisions, but it’s really about leading people, and leadership is about trust and motivation through influence.” The bottom line is that teaching employees new skills or enhancing their existing ones only makes your job easier in the long run.

[Read more: 5 Tips for Becoming a Great Mentor]

People, project, and time management

You can always learn more about managing people, projects, and time. According to College Recruiter, “Every minute lost because of a misplaced tool or document is a minute that could have been spent completing a task.” Likewise, ineffective employee management wastes time and resources.

Brush up on your management skills by:

Task and project delegation

As a new manager, delegation may be the last thing on your mind. There’s always that temptation to overachieve and demonstrate your worth. But delegation can help you accomplish your management goals and prove your value. Take a close look at your responsibilities. Consider how much time each task takes and how it relates to the overall project.

For instance, if you’re in charge of inventory management, you probably shouldn’t hand over the ordering duties to another staff member. But you can ask them to straighten up the stock room weekly or set up an automated report to be sent to your inbox.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 16, 2022