12 Expert Tips For New and Aspiring Managers

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New and aspiring managers might feel nervous as they meet their teams for the first time, but these leadership and management tips from our community will help them be successful.

Key points

  • Reflective, thoughtful and considerate leadership qualities will make you popular with your people
  • Authentic leaders make better connections
  • Be fair – only ask people to do something you’d do yourself

#1 Make time to reflect

“Always build in time for reflection with your team. It’s easy to rush from one project to another (especially when something hasn’t gone so well) but make time to identify and learn lessons at every opportunity.”

Kirsty Payne, National Academy for Educational Leadership

#2 Earn respect

“100% that you earn respect. We have an all-female leadership team and it’s a big part of our ethos.”

VerriBerri Marketing and PR

#3 Be authentic

“Always be yourself. Don’t mirror someone else – bring your own personality and style and back that up with leadership skills through formal routes. Read. Listen. Ask. Question. Build relationships and treat your team as individuals who work with you, not for you.”

Jayne Jones, be business fit

#4 Listen

“Listen!! Very easy to run away with your own thoughts and how you want to run your ship….listen to your staff, understand their needs and what gets them motivated ( everyone is different ). The more you listen, the more you will develop. Your master plan is only as good as the people around you so try and separate the two, which will then combine to make the master plan 😉.”

Ian Keen, amber energy 

#5 Celebrate and support

“Be 100% authentic to your team, show your team that you are prepared to not only celebrate when the wins happen, but you will help, support and be there on the tough days. NEVER expect your team to do something you wouldn’t do, show them that you are prepared to do the dirty work too. This not only gains respect but it helps build a strong lasting relationship.”

Rayner Davies, Arcs Cleaning 

#6 Be honest

“Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know or admit you were wrong. The honesty and vulnerability will push you to learn and gain respect and trust (provided you aren’t constantly saying it!) Be generous with the amount of effort you put into giving feedback. Make it constructive and kind but don’t shy away from difficult conversations. And of course, take time to get to know your team in and outside of work. Building strong relations will help create a good team dynamic but also enable you to spot the signs when people aren’t at their best. This is particularly important in the current climate when people are struggling more and more with their mental wellbeing. If you can support them early on it can make a huge difference to their health and the businesses. Plenty more but I always think that 3 is the magic number.”

Katie Phillips, Katie Phillips Coaching 

#7 Communicate

“One of the biggest challenges faced in any work environment is clear communication, especially in the current climate where workers are more likely to be remote than in an office. Be proactive and encourage open dialogue, if your team works from home you should be using a chat platform like Microsoft Team or Slack. This will make it easier for team members to approach you with any questions that they may have and help with overall productivity. Share your work with them as well and ask for feedback on something that you are working on – and encourage criticism. Having this level of communication flowing within your team will open doors you never knew were closed, creating a safe environment where colleagues will feel like they can trust each other when working together.”

Jeremy Bentley, Head of Digital Marketing at Datadial

#8 Be confident

“Sometimes you have to have the confidence to be able to push your team. This may take them outside of their comfort zone and they may dig their heels in, but when you do push them in to their uncomfortable zone, the growth that comes from that very experience is invaluable. Each time they are pushed outside their comfort zone, will result in huge lessons learnt and the next level of personal growth.”

“Know that you won’t always be right, your decision won’t always be right so have the courage to say in front of your team that you made a mistake. This shows them that its ok to admit when you make mistakes. Don’t bury and hide a mistake as this can cause a long term major impact. Mistakes teach you some of the best lessons and trust me I’ve made a few. Without my mistakes, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. My mistakes have allowed me to learn, grow, develop and better what we do, time and time again.”

Rayner Davies, Arc Cleaning

#9 Analyse

“New managers should take their time to understand the business or team they are taking responsibility for. Listen, reflect, and then form a plan before making any necessary changes”

Simon Roderick, MD of Fram Search – a financial services recruitment consultancy.

#10 Learn

“Aspiring Leadership Considerations: While leadership education is important, it’s vital that you gain experience and exposure. Consider just how important the future leaderships skills are and start developing them today, especially emotional intelligence, self-awareness and congruent communication. Take leadership roles in other areas as a way to utilise building your wider skill set. Consider the importance of credibility and presence and remember that as a leader, you must lead yourself first, and encourage and empower those who you work with to lead themselves.”

Lee Chambers MSc MBPsS, Founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing,

#11 Be constructive

“Make your team successful – give constructive feedback. The success of new managers is measured based on the success of their team. You must make sure your team is efficient and performs well. The best way to achieve this is by giving constructive feedback frequently and optimistically. Review the performance of each team member regularly and summarise the points of improvement for each of them. This type of feedback should focus on their skills, approach to tasks, problem-solving skills and anything related to their role. Sometimes constructive feedback can be mistaken as criticism, so make sure you balance the conversation by including praises and points of improvement simultaneously.”

Irina Georgieva, co-founder and CEO of Enterprise League 

#12 Embody values

“Have clear values that translate into how you act and be totally consistent in applying them so that people trust you.”

Bob and Sarah Brown, Inspire2Aspire

Leadership pushed to the limit

The skills our apprentices learn on a Leadership & Management course can prepare them for almost anything.

Listen to our ILM Level 5 delegate Jamie Davies, talk to us about flexing his leadership muscles in the Jordanian desert, during his time as a recruit on SAS: Who Dares Wins.

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Matthew Channell
Matthew is TSW Training’s Commercial Director. He writes about performance focussed learning, leadership, and management approaches that have real-world, sustainable impact.
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