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How to Equip First-Time Managers for 5 Common Challenges


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

L&D Support for new managers and first-time team leads

A new year often brings with it change – change of goals, responsibilities, and roles. Team shift, priorities are made, and new leadership emerges.

With their new responsibilities and roles, our newly appointed managers are likely going to face a few hurdles and will need our support along the way in order to help them reach their full potential.

Below are a few of the most common challenges we've seen and suggestions for how HR and L&D pros can equip new managers to overcome them.


New Manager Challenge 1: Leading people that were once peers

Solution: Communicate early and often about the change in role – what the new responsibilities are, chain of command, and when the change is taking place. Don't leave team members in the dark about when the new manager begins their responsibilities or what it means to each member of the team.

Additionally, send the peers to their new manager if they come to you with questions or concerns best addressed by the manager. Build up the new manager to the team and encourage the new manager to keep moving forward. Early on in the relationship is the best time to set good habits. If team members learn to come to their HR representative instead of their manager, it will be challenging to fix later on in the relationship.


New Manager Challenge 2: Delivering constructive feedback

Solution: Provide guidelines or a framework for delivering feedback. Act as a sounding board for the new manager to practice delivering the feedback and provide suggestions on how it could be made more clear or helpful. You could also choose to send your managers through a course that teaches communication skills or the fundamentals of management, where they will cover what feedback should (and shouldn't) look and sound like.


New Manager Challenge 3: Showing favoritism

Solution: Encourage the new manager to spend time with each of his or her new direct reports, get to know something about each one. If their budget allows, encourage the new manager to take the whole team out to lunch or a social activity, rather than taking only a handful out. You could encourage them to use their team budget to provide each member a DiSC® assessment and bring in a facilitator for a team session to focus on getting to know each person's preferences, communication style, and needs.


New Manager Challenge 4: Setting clear direction/goals

Solution: Create standards and hold all of your managers to the same standard (i.e., goals set by a specific date, use the same format for all goals set, etc.). Help managers cascade the goals down from the top so everyone is working towards the same goal or priority and each team member understands how they contribute to the company's big-picture goals and strategic plan. 


New Manager Challenge 5: Managing their time and responsibilities

Solution: Communicate the importance and power of delegation to free up time to do other work and provide the team with opportunities to learn new skills. Encourage the manager to have calendar time in their day to catch up on emails, have conversations with their team, and task their projects. New managers can easily find themselves overwhelmed with many new responsibilities but learning to utilize their time and team properly is a great asset to both their professional development and their teams. 


The success of our new managers come back to how we have prepared and continue to support them in this journey, so make sure to check out the blogs and resources below for more ideas.

Download an Overview of Management Vitals

Rachel Tomasik

Rachel Tomasik is a past FlashPoint employee with a passion for leadership and teams.