When someone who has never been a manager is hired or promoted, he or she often makes the kind of common mistakes that seem to be unavoidable due to lack of experience. Your company can avoid these mistakes by implementing mentorship or shadowing programs that allow new managers to learn from old pros before taking the reins themselves. Here are some common first-time-manager mistakes.

Acting Better Than Their Employees

When an employee is promoted, he or she might instantly get hit with a god-like complex. I’ve worked in many places where I’ve promoted employees who suddenly changed their behavior to the extent that they seemed to think they were better than their old colleagues and friends. To combat this mindset, make sure they understand that they’re no longer trying to be the star employee, instead, they now need to manage others’ successes.

Quickly Burning Bridges

New managers can quickly burn bridges when they are first promoted. This is generally because of the first topic – they start acting like they’re better than everyone else. In order to be a successful manager, they need to know the importance of maintaining the relationships they’ve built prior to being promoted. Since their employees’ successes are going to reflect highly on them, they’ll need to keep those relationships going strong in order to succeed.

Being Reactive, Not Proactive

Something inexperienced managers tend to do when they’re newly promoted is to be too reactive to every situation that arises. They’re busy being available to their new employees, and they don’t really leave themselves time to think about strategy, which is an important function of their new job. They need to stop putting out fires and being available around the clock and start being proactive when it comes to long-term strategies.

Not Being Available

On the flip side, some new managers might go too far in the other direction and become completely unavailable. They might take their new role as an excuse to be hands-off and not work with the other employees. Being too hands-off shows employees that they aren’t committed to the overall success of the office and that they’re too busy to help out when things get busy. It’s extremely important to be available when it comes to managing employees, just make sure you don’t do it to the detriment of your other responsibilities.

Hiring the Wrong Employees

New managers maybe a little too eager to hire their first employees, so they might rush the entire process. Tell them that it’s important to take your time when it comes to hiring your first employee. The type of employee you hire will directly reflect on your ability to be a manager and the success you may have in your new role.

Learning to be a great manager takes years of experience, and it’s not going to come right away. That’s why it’s important to provide support and information on what it takes to be a good manager so that they can avoid these common mistakes in the workplace.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.


  • Avatar Walter says:

    Being a good manager requires years of experience. No matter how many schools or training anyone follows, in the end the experience is more important. Because in real life, the situations we encounter rarely match those described in the textbooks. People are different and they act according to the context, the circumstances, and their personality, and this influences how they relate to different situations.

  • Avatar Karla D. says:

    I really liked your article. As I read it, I found that maybe it is better to very carefully choose which people will be promoted to a managerial position within the company. Sometimes I think it is better, when hiring for a managerial position, to bring in someone from outside the organization in order to avoid certain problems (some of which you’ve mentioned in this material). Not everybody is meant to be a leader!

  • Avatar Jeff says:

    In your article, you managed to identify most of the problems faced by people who have just received a promotion. It is not easy at all to move to a new level of responsibility in an organization, and people who are not strong enough will change their behavior. This is not always a positive thing. A person who trusts in herself or himself, a person with true moral values, will remain the same, regardless of the position they occupy. But what can we do with the rest of them?

  • Avatar Berenice Turner says:

    Anyone who is promoted to a managerial position will make some mistakes in the beginning. There is an old saying, “If you want to know the true character of a person, you should put that person in a management position.” Unfortunately, many people forget where they’re from when evolving in their career, and they take out their frustrations on their underlings, who not long ago were his colleagues.

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