5 tips for new managers (remote advice included)

Written by: Erika Khanna | Edited by: Alison Robins | Illustrated by: Simon Lavallée-Fortier
Published on October 22, 2020 | Reading time: 6m

Congratulations, you’re becoming a manager for the first time! You wake up excited and get settled into your workspace, while powering on your computer, you realize that establishing your presence will be essential towards fostering a supportive remote team environment. It’s already feeling like an adjustment from your previous role as an expert in your trade, to now supporting your team towards achieving their goals. You might be wondering how you’ll adjust as a first-time manager. 

We’ve outlined our top new manager tips to help when it comes to leading a team in a remote work environment. Check out how you can set yourself up to be an effective leader within your first 30 days as a new remote manager.

A week-by-week breakdown of your first month on the job.

Week 1: Learn, observe, be curious, understand

This is a time to watch, listen and ask questions. Be sure you understand the full context you’re walking into on a company, team and individual level. This will contribute to developing an empathetic and supportive managerial style and ensure your first steps as a new manager come from an informed place.

Week 2: Build connections, ask for help, find a mentor

With this new role will come many questions and uncertainties. That’s normal! Find a mentor with whom you can trust to brainstorm ideas, confide in, and learn from. Asking for help is a key part of developing as a first-time manager and a humble leader.

Week 3: Share your values, be vulnerable,  get to know your people

Another effective new manager tip is to state your values as a leader by reminding your team that you’re new to the role and will be learning along the way. Express what type of leader you hope to be and how you plan to accompany the team to success. Then, learn what each employee values, how they want to develop, and their expectations of you, during one-on-one sessions.

Week 4: Set goals and expectations for your team and yourself

Ensure team goals are clearly defined and set goals for yourself as well so you can track your own development. As you move forward, defining and clarifying goals will be integral for your team to move in the right direction and understand how their contribution impacts the larger business goals.

5 ongoing new manager tips to succeed in their first 30 days

1. Keep a journal: take notes of your questions and learnings daily

Ever catch yourself saying “I’ll remember that!” only to find yourself unclear about that same thought? Keeping a daily journal to reflect on your learnings, questions and observations helps ensure that important snippets of knowledge don’t get lost. Documenting the changes and challenges you face as a remote new manager, versus an in-office specialist will be the first step. How are you feeling, what are your concerns, who do you need to reach out to, what support do you need? 

Some others questions and information to consider:

  • Understand the remote working processes of your team – what works and what doesn’t? 
  • Find out how people are feeling about their current reality
  • Understand what your team needs form you this quarter/month/week/day to achieve their objectives 
  • Who can you turn to for help as a remote manager to bounce ideas off of, and learn from?

2. Establish your presence as a leader, even from afar

How you show up for yourself and others makes a difference. While working remotely, your team needs to know that you’re there for them, despite the distance. We know that this can be tough when you can’t exactly knock on their door, chat over coffee or lunch. As a remote manager, there are some great ways to establish your presence without being assertive or aggressive.

  • Provide a supportive environment by scheduling regular check-ins and 1:1s 
  • Let your team know your expectations with regards to behaviour and performance
  • Share your values as a leader and how you want to support your team
  • Understand what type of leader your team and each team player needs
  • Keep your team accountable towards their milestones while learning about their skills and what will challenge them to achieve their objectives

3. Find a mentor or a coach: share your experience and learn from theirs

Transitioning from employee to manager successfully takes time and requires that you be open to the understanding that you have a lot to learn! Building a relationship with a mentor is a key element to equipping yourself as a supportive manager with a robust toolkit. Like your team, you are also developing your skills and learning innovative and helpful ways to keep your team moving forward. Stay curious, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help when you need it.

  • Book regular one-on-one’s with your mentor to discuss anything you’re struggling with, whether it be setting goals, having a tough conversation or managing your time in your new role.
  • Gaining another perspective on a situation will help you build a holistic view of people management and develop your soft skills.
  • Develop actionable insights that will contribute to your growth as a manager during your regular check-ins.

4.  Ask for feedback from your boss and your team

Your greatest tool as a new manager will be the honest feedback you receive. The best way to grow is to gain perspective on where you’re doing well, and where you can improve. Ask for feedback as often as possible either face-to-face or using Officevibe –  every new manager’s hack to easily understand their team’s needs – so employees can share their feedback anonymously. 

Here are some questions you can ask as prompts:

  • What are some things you think I have been doing well? 
  • What are some things you’d like to see more of from me as your manager? 
  • Do you feel that the feedback I give you helps you improve? 
  • Are you comfortable with the amount of direction you have for your work? 
  • Do you feel supported in your day to day development?

5. Recognize your team’s effort and accomplishments

Keep your team engaged, motivated and inspired by recognizing their work and the way they show up for one another. By emphasizing that you are aware of their progress, your team will feel appreciated, further motivating them to make valuable contributions. 

Here are a few habits to start with:

  • Learn how members of your team like to receive recognition (in 1:1s, on video calls with others, in a group kudos board, etc.) 
  • Get creative! Establish consistent ways of providing recognition on a daily or weekly basis 
  • Be clear and specific about who is being recognized and what they’re being recognized for 
  • Read through our Recognition Guide for more thoughtful tips! 

Becoming a new manager is one thing. Starting the job remotely is another. Building a trusted and supportive environment is essential and our top for new manager tips will move you along the path to success, from day one. While it may not always be easy, know that it takes patience and we’re here to help you along the way. Check out the Officevibe Blog for more helpful content!