How New Managers Can Lead Without Disrupting Productivity

Here's what new managers should do to keep their sail adrift while leading a team

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New managers often have the difficult task of coming onto a high-performing team and trying to lead without disrupting productivity. Before becoming managers, many of them had been members of the team but now they find themselves managing people they once worked alongside. These employees want to make sure to improve internal workflows but not mess with processes that already work well.


Often, new managers are given training or professional development opportunities to improve their leadership skills. This means many new managers stop all processes or disrupt the workflow when starting while trying to get a handle on the workload. However, productivity shouldn't suffer because of a new leader. Here are tips on how to keep the day moving while leading a new team.

Invest in Training

One study found that 60 percent of new managers underperformed in their first two years on the job, and did not achieve the results expected of them. Managers that invest in training before and during their time as a team leader could possibly beat these odds. Leadership skills are essential for new managers, who may not have had any training in this area. Even if the company does not offer any management training, there is plenty of information online that can help.

New managers should review what worked and what didn't under previous management, and invest in some training before taking on the new position. Understanding what is expected is also important. New managers should communicate with executives to ensure they do a good job.

Communicate on Employee's Terms

Communication is one task every single manager must do, no matter what industry they are with. Interact found that 69 percent of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees. What's more, the study found that 37 percent are uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees' performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback.

Managing a team means finding a way to communicate with team members that makes them comfortable. Managers should manage each person differently and find a way to talk with each team member in a way that reinforces an idea. Some employees might be shy and prefer feedback in chat, and some may need in-person talks to get the point across.

Team's Professional Growth

For any manager, it is imperative to make sure the team is happy and performing well. Since happiness and performance levels are tied, this is crucial for new managers to master. Plus, Gallup found that 50 percent of employees leave their companies to get away from their manager.

New managers should ensure everyone on the team has the proper amount of work, is being challenged, and has opportunities for growth. No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job that is going nowhere. Employees should feel valued and be given professional development opportunities. It's often up to managers to make sure everyone has these trainings or opportunities, so don't forget about this element.

Feedback and Workflow

New managers have to find the balance between sitting back and letting everyone resume normal workflows and disrupting productivity entirely. Some new managers choose to let employees continue despite problems. Other managers interrupt everything and make drastic changes. New managers should strive for a balance.

Talk to the team to find internal hiccups. What doesn't work well? What new resources are necessary? What does work well? What process should be left alone? New managers that can improve workflow without drastically changing everyone's day-to-day have a better chance at success.

Good Managers Mean Good Employees

The Gallup workplace survey is eye-opening. It found that bad managers truly impact the workplace. "The effects of bad management reach farther than just engagement — they can actually undermine your company's efforts to help employees improve their health."

While it should be up to the organizations themselves to provide managerial training, this is not often the case. New managers, therefore, must take a proactive approach to learn to lead. The importance of good management is evident, and new managers have to tread a fine line of keeping productivity high while changing processes and workflows. Those that take the time to communicate with employees and listen to feedback likely have a stronger chance of success.