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4 Rookie Mistakes First-Time Managers Should Avoid It's no surprise that working for a first-time manager can be challenging. For one thing, new bosses are often thrown into their roles with little to no training. Here are 4 areas first-time managers make mistakes.

By Kavya Pillai

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It's no surprise that working for a first-time manager can be challenging. For one thing, new bosses are often thrown into their roles with little to no training. Only 35% of companies offer a formal leadership coaching program for employees, according to a research study by leadership development firm AceUp. Instead, 69% of those surveyed said managers coach their direct reports, which continues the vicious cycle that churns out ill-prepared leaders.

It's not unusual for first-time managers to be unwilling to deal with conflict. Often, they find themselves managing former peers, which can be awkward. Establishing healthy boundaries can be tricky if you are friends with direct reports or are used to socializing outside the office. In that case, it's a good idea to formally meet with your boss early on to discuss your working relationship and areas where you need support. That way, you can agree on how to balance the manager/direct report dynamic. Here are 4 areas first-time managers make mistakes.

1. Indecisiveness

Inexperienced managers don't know what it's like to make decisions under pressure constantly. They are naturally risk-averse and may delay decision-making for fear of making a wrong choice. It may even be a situation where your boss is stuck in analysis paralysis. If that's the case, help them sort through the information. By acting as a sounding board, you solidify your role as a valuable team member.

2. Unplanned Meetings

First-time managers are typically used to attending meetings, not running them. Then, when combined with becoming a new supervisor, overwhelm sets in. They may even be concerned about making a positive first impression on the team. If your new manager has trouble running an effective meeting, offer to help them establish an agenda and identify goals to stay on track. You might even offer to lead the first few sessions. Don't forget to leave a few minutes at the end of every meeting to discuss the next steps.

3. Conflict Resolution

Most organizations promote employees to management based on their performance as individual contributors. It's their technical competence that gets them the role. But first-time managers aren't used to building teams and focusing on the big picture. Then, anxiety sets in when dealing with a problematic employee or budget issues. If your rookie boss is in over their head, make it a point to move projects forward when possible. Keep your manager informed and ask them where they need assistance. New managers often hesitate to ask for help, so your offer of support will be appreciated.

4. Feedback

A Harvard Business Review survey found that 44% of managers find it stressful or difficult to give negative feedback. For first-time managers, providing feedback can be even more challenging. Instead, they tend to sit back and hope that behaviors or situations improve with time. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that issues worsen. If your first-time manager has trouble providing feedback, manage up. Meet with your boss regularly and ask open-ended questions about your performance. If they still don't give you the information you need, request feedback from colleagues or other people in the organization that you respect.

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