What’s the secret to not looking like a total newbie in my first 90 days as a manager?

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What’s the secret to not looking like a total newbie in my first 90 days as a manager?

New manager

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Congratulations, you’ve just landed your first management position! You’ve worked hard to get here, and now you have a team of employees looking to you for guidance, support, and leadership. The transition from individual contributor to a leadership role can be exhilarating, yet daunting. You’re not only responsible for your own work but also for the success and development of your team.

But along with this new role comes new challenges. You may be wondering, “What’s the secret to not looking like a total newbie in my first 90 days as a manager?” It’s natural to feel some uncertainty, but with the right approach, you can quickly establish yourself as a competent and effective leader.

We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore the top tips for new managers to help you navigate your first 90 days with confidence and set yourself up for success. By focusing on these key areas, you’ll be able to overcome common pitfalls and build a solid foundation for your leadership career.

Tip #1: Build Relationships with Your Team

Team meeting

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As a new manager, it’s crucial to establish strong relationships with your team. Take the time to get to know each employee individually. Learn about their strengths, weaknesses, and goals. This will help you understand how to best support and motivate them. It also builds trust and respect, which are essential for a cohesive and productive team.

Schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member to introduce yourself and ask questions. Be sure to listen actively and take notes. This will show that you value their input and are invested in their success. Additionally, share a bit about your own background and management philosophy to help them get to know you as well.

Encourage an open-door policy where team members feel comfortable coming to you with their ideas and concerns. The more approachable and understanding you are, the more likely they are to engage with you honestly and openly.

Tip #2: Communicate Clearly and Often


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Effective communication is key to being a successful manager. Make sure your team knows what is expected of them and what your goals are as a team. Be transparent and open to feedback. Encourage your team members to communicate openly with you as well. Regular, clear communication prevents misunderstandings and keeps everyone aligned toward common objectives.

In addition to regular team meetings, schedule regular one-on-one check-ins with each team member. This is a great opportunity to provide feedback, address concerns, and ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s also a chance to personalize your communication style to suit each team member’s preferences, whether they respond best to direct feedback, written communication, or informal chats.

Use a variety of communication tools, from email to project management software, to keep in touch and maintain clarity. And remember, communication is a two-way street; be as good at listening as you are at speaking or writing.

Tip #3: Set Clear Expectations


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One of the biggest mistakes new managers make is assuming that their team knows what is expected of them. Don’t leave anything to chance. Clearly communicate your expectations for each team member, including goals, deadlines, and performance standards. This clarity helps eliminate confusion and sets everyone up for success.

Setting clear expectations will not only help your team know what is expected of them, but it will also make it easier for you to evaluate their performance and provide feedback. Ensure these expectations are realistic and attainable, and be open to adjusting them as needed based on your team’s feedback and changing circumstances.

Use specific examples and benchmarks to illustrate what success looks like. And remember, setting expectations is an ongoing process that may require frequent updates and refinements as projects evolve and new challenges arise.

Tip #4: Be a Good Listener


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As a new manager, it can be tempting to try to prove yourself by talking a lot and offering your own ideas and solutions. However, being a good listener is just as important, if not more so. Your team members will have valuable insights and ideas, and it’s important to give them the opportunity to share them.

When someone comes to you with a problem, listen attentively and ask open-ended questions to encourage them to explore potential solutions. This will not only help them feel heard and valued, but it will also foster a culture of open communication and collaboration within your team.

Encourage a culture of listening within the entire team, not just in your interactions with them. Promote an environment where all voices are heard and considered, which will help in generating diverse ideas and solutions. This practice also enables you to gather a wide range of perspectives before making important decisions.

Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help


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As a new manager, you may feel pressure to have all the answers and know exactly what to do in every situation. But the truth is, no one knows everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from your own manager or more experienced colleagues.

In addition, consider seeking out a mentor or joining a professional development group for new managers. These resources can provide valuable insights and support as you navigate your new role. Being proactive in seeking guidance demonstrates humility and a willingness to learn, qualities that are admirable in a leader.

Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a strategy for growth. Leverage the expertise around you to make informed decisions and to grow in your role more quickly.

Tip #6: Be Proactive with Employee Engagement


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Employee engagement is a key factor in team performance and overall job satisfaction. As a new manager, it’s important to be proactive in keeping your team engaged and motivated. Engagement goes beyond job satisfaction; it’s about creating an environment where team members are emotionally invested in their work and the success of the company.

Schedule regular team-building activities, such as team lunches or happy hours, to promote camaraderie and build relationships. Recognize and reward team members for their hard work and achievements. And be sure to listen to any concerns or feedback from your team to address any potential issues before they become bigger problems.

Create opportunities for your team members to grow and develop their skills. Offer training sessions, workshops, or mentoring programs. When employees feel that they are learning and growing in their roles, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.

Tip #7: Conduct Regular Performance Reviews

Performance review

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Performance reviews are an essential part of managing a team. They provide a structured opportunity to discuss each team member’s progress, strengths, and areas for improvement.

Schedule regular performance reviews with each team member to discuss their goals, accomplishments, and any areas for development. Be sure to provide specific, actionable feedback and create a plan for improvement. This will not only help your team members grow and improve, but it will also show that you are invested in their success.

It’s important to approach performance reviews as a collaborative process. Encourage team members to self-assess and come prepared to discuss their own perspectives. This makes the review more of a dialogue and less of a one-sided critique.

Tip #8: Be Open to Feedback


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As a manager, it’s important to be open to feedback from your team. Encourage team members to share their thoughts and ideas, and be open to constructive criticism. This can provide invaluable insights into how you can improve as a leader and how your team can function more effectively.

In addition, seek out feedback from your own manager and other colleagues. This will not only help you improve as a manager, but it will also show your team that you are open to learning and growing. Regular feedback can help you adjust your management style and address any issues before they escalate.

Create a safe space where feedback is welcomed and valued. Make it clear that you view feedback as a gift that helps you serve your team better. Recognize and thank those who offer their insights, reinforcing that their opinions are important to you.

Tip #9: Don’t Micromanage


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As a new manager, it can be tempting to want to be involved in every aspect of your team’s work. However, micromanaging can be counterproductive and can lead to demotivation and resentment among your team members.

Trust your team to do their jobs and give them the freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This will not only build trust and respect within your team, but it will also free up your time to focus on more strategic tasks. By delegating effectively, you empower your team to take initiative and demonstrate their capabilities.

Set clear boundaries and expectations, but allow team members to approach their work in the way that they find most effective. Check-in with them periodically to offer support, but resist the urge to control every detail of their process.

Tip #10: Be a Role Model

Role model

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As a manager, you are a role model for your team. Lead by example by demonstrating the behaviors and values you want to see in your team members.

Be punctual, organized, and professional. Show respect and empathy towards your team members and encourage a positive and collaborative work environment. Your team will look to you for guidance and inspiration, so make sure you are setting a good example.

Consistently uphold the standards you expect from your team. If you expect them to meet deadlines, ensure you do the same. If you value openness and honesty, be the first to exhibit these traits in your interactions. Your behavior sets the tone for the team’s culture.


Being a new manager can be both exciting and overwhelming. By following these tips, you can navigate your first 90 days with confidence and set yourself up for long-term success.

Remember to build relationships with your team, communicate clearly and often, set clear expectations, and be open to feedback. And most importantly, be a role model for your team and lead with empathy and respect.

With these tips in your toolkit, you’ll be well on your way to being a successful and respected manager in no time. Embrace the journey, learn from each experience, and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements along the way.