How to Prevent Churn: 8 Crucial Tips for First-Time Managers by@rickchen

How to Prevent Churn: 8 Crucial Tips for First-Time Managers

Transitioning to a new managerial position can be daunting, these tips have been put together to make that transition easier. It's important that you give your team autonomy, no one ever sets out to micromanage but it can happen. Create a safe environment for your team. Tailor your communication style to each team member. Allow your team have a say in important decisions and be open to regular feedback. its also important that the dynamic of work relationships can change with your new position. Create an environment that allows your team thrive and develop leaders, by helping your team grow professionally.
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Rick Chen

Rick Chen is the director, head of public relations at Blind. He writes about tech culture and the workplace.

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Many of us have heard the saying: People quit bosses and not companies. The suggestion is managers matter, which can put a lot of pressure on you if you are a first-time manager.

Whether you are a first-time manager because of a promotion (congratulations!) or recently joined a company, there are some habits you might want to adopt. According to some of the more than 5 million verified professionals on the professional social network Blind, here are eight management tips you might want to know.

1. Give your team autonomy.

Hardly anyone becomes a manager with the goal of micromanaging others, but it can happen.

One of the primary responsibilities of a manager is helping your team succeed. While you likely have a stellar track record as an individual contributor, you no longer need to be as involved in the day-to-day tactical work. It is what your team is there to do.

Strike a balance by delegating responsibility. You can start by “assigning projects/tasks and getting weekly updates on them,” a verified manager at Google recommends. “But don’t interfere unless they need help.”

2. Create an environment of psychological safety.

Managers often forget their impact on their team members, including outside of their professional lives.

“Your job is to make them better and help them become great human beings,” a verified Activision Blizzard professional explained, referring to a manager’s direct reports.

The worker at the video-game company recommended first-time managers be genuine in their interactions. “It all starts with you,” the professional noted.

3. Tailor your communication style to each team member.

Everyone has different preferences for work, and communication is no different.

“No two people are the same, so ask what style of communication works for them,” a verified P&G professional advised first-time managers. “Some people want more hands on [communication] and others do not.”

For example, some professionals prefer more direct feedback, while others require more diplomacy. Setting expectations early can help you avoid misunderstandings and keep your team more productive.

A verified professional at Techtronic Industries agreed: “People want feedback if they first trust you as a person and your motives. No one wants feedback from someone they don’t trust.”

4. Give your team a say.

You do not have to take a top-down approach to management. Ideally, your team does “not acquiesce to every demand,” a verified Palo Alto Networks professional warned. In short, your team should not be a group of order-takers.

Ask for your team’s input regularly and incorporate their feedback.

“Make them part of [the] process in defining team goals,” the cybersecurity worker advised individual contributors becoming managers for the first time. As a manager, you want to empower your team and give them ownership in their respective roles.

5. Get regular feedback from your team.

While you may now be the team leader, you are not entirely alone. Ask for your team’s ideas and insights often.

In particular, you may want to seek feedback about your leadership style.

“Get constant feedback from your team on your performance and how you can do better to support them,” said a verified professional at the machine-learning company Diffbot. The feedback can help make you and your team more effective.

6. Realize that relationships may have changed.

As a first-time manager, you will quickly learn that some relationships at work have changed.

“It’s more important to be respected than liked,” a verified Gusto professional remarked. “You won’t be friends with some of your team and that’s okay.”

Sooner or later, every manager needs to find the balance between being a friend and a manager.

The Gusto professional continued: “Your #1 job is to help them do their jobs better: coach them, advocate for them, [and] make sure they’re on track.”

7. Remove obstacles for your team.

Some of the best leaders find ways to ensure their team works at their best.

“Remove obstacles so they can move forward,” a verified CVS Pharmacy professional noted.

Make your team more effective by identifying where they might be blocked. You could sit down with a team member who feels like they are treading water by helping them prioritize more impactful work. Alternatively, you could also advocate for the team to get additional resources, whether help from another team, a new hire, a contractor or some software or equipment.

You want to “help others become better and deliver more,” a verified Oracle professional plainly said.

8. Develop leaders.

Look for ways to help your team grow professionally.

A verified Gusto professional pointed out that “managing people is the bulk of your job” as a manager. “Your success is now determined by how well your team is doing/perceived to be doing by other managers/your manager.”

Remember: Professional development can be as simple as delegating projects or additional responsibilities that play to their strengths or interests.

“Ask them to tell [you] what motivates and interests them,” a verified Amazon professional said. Then, once armed with this information, you should find corresponding opportunities—and often. It could very well be the opportunity they need to shine or for others to recognize them for their value to the team.

The bottom line

As a manager, you have the opportunity to be more impactful at work. Notably, your primary responsibility will be to empower others to work at their best. Instead of micromanaging, your role as a manager will be to provide direction, coaching and the structure for your team members to work more effectively.

Also published on Teamblind's blog.

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