what every manager should know

Doing the work I do, I’ve witnessed a lot of managers who struggle to transition from being part of a team to effectively managing one. In fact, one of the issues that comes up most frequently in my consulting work is coaching new managers who want to get it right but are walking dangerously close to some common landmines.

Over at DailyWorth today, I talk about eight strategies every manager should know. You can read it here.

{ 26 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Alison,
    I can’t read this piece, or the last one on this site, because of their own ads. For whatever reason, those ads move around covering your text & keeping their “close” button off the screen. It’s disappointing, & I thought you’d want to know.

  2. HR lady

    I was able to read it (I use Mozilla Firefox – maybe the browser makes a difference?).

    I thought it was a great article!

      1. Anonymous

        I was able to view it, but I hate slideshows! Ugh. I realize they generate more ad-serving opportunities, but ugh.

  3. Colorado

    Great article! Being a people pleaser, the change from engineer to management has not been an easy one. Thank you for your continued advice!

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      Yeah, I have IE8, and the last one linked to this site did the same too. I figure it’s because of the old browser, but you’d think they’d want everyone to be able to read their site.

      1. SJ

        IE is so obsolete that scads of sites won’t work on it. If the browser can’t keep up with internet technology, it’s the browser’s fault – not the site’s. Notorious issue with IE. I encounter it all the time. At a certain point, the site’s creators would be sacrificing UI and functionality if they tried to cater to users still in 1997. And some things are so outdated that they might work in IE, but nowhere else.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          Well, IE8 isn’t quite THAT ancient, but unfortunately, businesses are very slow to jump on the upgrade bandwagon — they usually wait until they are forced to upgrade. I bet there are a ton of businesses out there still on IE8.

          Supporting a browser that came out 15 years ago and hasn’t been supported for 10: no. Supporting a browser that came out less than 5 years ago and is still in wide use? I guess it’s their choice.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Sorry you guys are having this problem — they are apparently working on it.

      I can’t post the text here due to my agreement with them (they paid me to write it for their site) but hopefully it will be fixed soon!

  4. KarenT

    Great article!

    When I first became a manager, I struggled because I was brought in to make change and people didn’t like it. I had to shift our department’s focus, which involved a lot of training and grumpy attitudes. It didn’t help that I was promoted over most of my team. My first year was pretty rough but things are great now!

  5. fposte

    For me the longest learning curve was “What you do and say matters”–that people paid extra attention to what I said and thought because of my rank, and that they would stop working if I started telling them something even if what I was saying wasn’t important. It seems obvious, but when you’re not used to it, it’s a process to remember to factor that in.

    1. Jamie

      For me the hardest leap was establishing authority – it was forever ago and people who work with me now would find it hard to believe I ever had an issue with this, but it was a struggle.

      I felt weird telling anyone what to do, especially people who had been working decades longer than me.

      Goes to show though, even the stuff that’s super hard in the beginning becomes second nature after a while. Managing is like learning to type – if you learn wrong in the beginning it’s a huge pita to correct your technique and some never do and just keep doing it wrong.

      This post should be required reading.

  6. PPK

    I hadn’t thought much about it, but the what you do and say is really important. I know I’ve picked apart what a manager has said on more than on occasion. It also matters what you don’t do. It’s a running joke that when my manager shows up at your door something bad happens. Because he’s not a wander around and chat type of guy — so you see him at your door and think “doom!” as a reflex. Not that he’s mean, it’s just usually extra or unpleasant work that now is your topmost priority.

  7. Kerry

    I just wanted to express my delight in re: the stock photo that accompanies “don’t try to be friends with the people you manage.”

  8. Ruffingit


    Sometimes I think about what your reaction would be if you walked into my old workplace where poor management (or no management actually) was the norm. What you could have done with that place crosses my mind frequently. I’m glad I no longer work there, but it’s always sad to see a business with a great product not living up to its full potential because of poor management. Good to know you’re consulting because that means at least some places are getting some good advice.

    I’d be interested to know if you’ve ever gone into a business to consult and just had to leave because there was no way any of them could be helped. I’ve definitely worked in places like that myself where nothing anyone offered was taken seriously so people who could have helped the business in many ways just had to leave and take their great ideas elsewhere.

    1. Elizabeth West

      When you said “I’d be interested to know if you’ve ever gone into a business to consult and just had to leave because there was no way any of them could be helped,” my mind leaped immediately to Amy’s Baking Company and Gordon Ramsay. Talk about not letting anyone help you. >_<

      1. Ruffingit

        Oh man, yes!! That is a stellar example of the serious crazy that exists in some places and how some people just refuse to hear anything that resembles sanity.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Oh yes. I’ve turned down clients at the outset because it was clear that it was simply going to be a frustrating exercise in non-change (and a waste of their money). And once I removed myself from an ongoing consulting role when it became clear that there was no way for me to have an impact.

  9. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    Far and away, my biggest problem was upward delegation.

    I was young (early 20’s managing people 10 or more years older than I was), good at the job I was promoted from to then manage and **utterly** clueless that the job of management was about getting my team to produce.

    All I did was take the hard work from them and then work 60/70 hours a week to make our goals.

    Of course I burnt out and the entire thing ended up being a disaster.

    30 years later (in a completely different environment), I still struggle with the upward delegation demon, but I have him locked in a cage most of the time.

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