4 Skills New Managers Should Master

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

Being promoted to management can be a thrilling experience. It’s a vote of confidence in your abilities and can be a testament to the work you’ve done for the company. Along with the promotion, though, should come a shift in mindset about your approach to work.


Unlike an individual contributor with a clear to-do list, you might find your new workload is less defined. On top of this, managing other people requires a different skill set than what you might be used to. Here are four skills new managers should master to help ease the transition from individual contributor to workplace leader.


1 - Seek Feedback on Your Manager Skills

When you started working at your company, you probably grew accustomed to asking for feedback from your supervisor or even fellow coworkers. As a new manager, it’s important to keep up this tradition, but with a minor adjustment: ask your employees for feedback on your manager skills as well.


Feedback should be multidirectional. Just as employees should expect to receive performance evaluation from you, create an atmosphere where employees feel encouraged to provide you with their comments as well. This will help you identify areas of improvement and growth. It also demonstrates to your employees the value of feedback. And don’t forget to hone your ability to actively listen — one of the most important tools in a manager’s toolbox.

A new manager is seeking feedback on her managerial skills.

2 - Delegate

There are myriad reasons delegation can be a difficult skill to master. For example, if you’ve progressed through the corporate ranks and are now managing individuals who are doing the job you used to do, it can feel strange to see someone complete a task in a different way than you would. What’s important is that the task gets done and is well executed, not that it’s completed the same way you would complete it. Likewise, you might feel like explaining the task would take longer than simply taking care of it yourself. If you used to be the “knowledge keeper,” it can also be difficult to let go of that feeling of importance.


Finally, you might enjoy completing the task at hand and feel guilty about adding work to your team’s plate. Whatever the case, delegation can be challenging. That said, delegating tasks to your employees helps clear your schedule for other items that now demand your time, such as higher-value activities.


When determining what to delegate, play to your employees’ strengths, provide the resources necessary to complete the task, be clear in your communication, provide feedback, and define the desired outcome. Finally, make sure to give credit where it’s due.


3 - Address Difficult Situations

Whether it’s a disagreement over how to approach a project or performance issues, you will face many new challenges as a manager. Human dynamics are complex, and in your new leadership role, you’ll need to learn how to lead a team of people who have their own thoughts, opinions, and ways of doing things. Instances will arise when you’ll need to support a grieving employee, handle conflict between team members, or potentially even fire someone.


Learning to navigate difficult situations can be challenging, but it can help to keep a few steps in mind: listen to your employees, give clear feedback, document the issue and the conversations you’ve had with your employees, and be consistent in your actions.


Try to ultimately turn these difficult situations into learning experiences. Reflect on the issue and outcome, as well as what worked and what did not.

A manager is addressing a difficult situation to his team.

4 - Trust and Empower Your People

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” – Stephen Covey


Trust your experts.


There’s a correlation between the amount of trust bestowed upon employees and their productivity. Those who are less trusted have been shown to be less productive and are more likely to leave the organization. Employees who receive a higher level of trust, on the other hand, have been shown to put in extra effort and are seen as high performers.


To help your team achieve higher performance, your employees should know you support them. Build a culture of collaborative leadership by asking for their opinions and how they would approach projects. You can accomplish this by familiarizing yourself with your employees’ strengths, providing context for the work that’s being done, and relinquishing control where possible so your team can take the lead.


Learn More About Leadership and Management

Interested in learning more effective tips for being a good manager? Check out our course offerings on leadership and management.


Learn More