5 Things All New Managers Have in Common
As an executive coach in the hospitality field I work with a ton of entrepreneurs and their teams. In particular, I work with their newish managers, the folks who have either just become a manager or who have been doing it a year or two. My clients generally send these managers to me in order to help them build confidence, poise, improve their communication and their interactions with the staff. While no two people are alike, I have seen a number of trends in the behaviors that new managers embody. Here’s what they are and how they impact the new manager’s ability to be confident in his or her role:
1. Confusing friendship for collegiality
There is a fine line between friendship and friendliness, and new managers often find that they are criticized for being too friendly with some of their team members. The word to keep in mind is “collegial.” This is a professional friendliness and openness with the team that is not too personal, doesn’t share too much and it doesn’t show favorites. More about favoritism next…
2. Showing Favoritism.
Having a few superstars on your team is a wonderful thing. But showing favoritism with a few team members is something to be avoided. As a manager you must be fair with everyone, regardless of whether you like them as a friend or barely know them. This ability to be fair is what your team will grade you on and when you show more attention, shed more praise and do favors for one person over another you will surely look unfair in your treatment of people. Ensure you are spending time engaging with each person on your team, making an effort to reach outside your comfort zone to check in with someone new and address individuals with equal familiarity and professionalism in order to look fair and equitable in your role.
3. Bootstrapping the Operation
Most restaurant people are “do-ers” who can make things happen right when it gets busy, hectic and crazy. This is great but what new managers don’t always have is a sense of the big picture or understand how to strategize before things get hectic. This ability to bootstrap and get in the mix is great, but it keeps you in your old role. So before your shift or week it is important to give yourself goals so you don’t get pulled into your old role. Set yourself up for success and rise above the fray so you can effectively guide the shift, assist your team and achieve your goals for week.
4. Comparing Team-Members to Themselves
“When I was starting out I used to…” this is a phase I hear with many new managers. They are constantly comparing who they were and how they did their job back in the day to the individuals on their team. This serves to create a barrier to their reports and prevents the manager from showing empathy to someone who does things differently or is not as skilled as they could be. The trick here is to share what you know rather than comparing. As a manager, your job is to constantly train people and demonstrate the standard. In doing so, you are upholding your role as manager and giving your team members something to strive toward.
5. Staying Comfortable
Most people will gravitate towards what they know and love, and new mangers are no different. People crave comfort and in new situations will do something familiar rather than risk trying something new. In restaurants, the former bartender turned floor manager will linger near the bar, the maître d’ turned AGM will gravitate towards the host stand and the former grill cook turned sous chef will find ways to do prep before service. Nothing wrong with supporting your team, but new managers must find ways to build new skills, not hone old ones. Challenge yourself to go against the tide and against what is more comfortable in order to build new skills and new fluency in your role.
Growing your skills as a manager is key to gaining confidence in your role and moving up the ladder. In order to grow, my advice to new managers is always: try things out! Every day you have a chance to try something new, so give yourself a goal each day to practice a new skill or try a different approach to your job. Prep by doing your research, asking your colleagues how they approach various tasks and even ask your reports for feedback on your performance. Growing your skills is a daily task and is one that can be incredibly satisfying when you can track your progress and make consistent change. This is the beauty of being new: the sky's the limit on your potential and promise.
Photo credit: Ryan Johns, Unsplash.com