New Manager? Your First Task: Managing Yourself

February 25, 2015

new manager: managing yourself

Congrats! You just got promoted, and you are now managing a team, several projects, and a budget; and yes, in case no one told you, you are also managing up, your new bosses. It’s a lot to take in along with a new role. As you begin, there is one thing you must really do first: You must manage yourself.


The first step in successfully managing others is to manage yourself. And to do that, you need to know thyself.  You will need to know what you are good at, and build on those skills. You also need to know what you are not so good at so you can improve. An easy way to find out is by self-observation:  Which tasks feel like second nature when you do them? Those are your passions and what you are good at. You usually forget time when you are engaged in them and feel energized when you are done. Which tasks feel like a drag when you are engaged in them and you just can’t wait to get them over with? Those tasks engage your not-so-natural skills. Typically, in any role, we cannot pick and choose tasks. We have to do all of them. One way to gain this balance is to focus and prepare when you are delving into the tasks that stress you out.

You will need to know what type of persona you have at work. A great way to detect this is by taking a behavioral assessment. There are many assessments available. One that I like because it’s practical and useful is DiSC. DiSC includes answering a short questionnaire, and based on your responses, you find out which personality traits are more prevalent in you and learn more about your behavioral style. This assessment will help you identify what motivates you, what causes you stress, how you respond to conflict, and how you solve problems, among other behavioral characteristics.

Figuring out yourself will help you become a self-knowledgeable, well-rounded, effective leader. Understanding the behavioral traits in your team members will help you understand them better. As a result, you will see team communication increase, which in turn will minimize conflict, increase results, and provide a focused approach to help you deliver the right products and services to your customers.

And as Polonius says in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man” …or woman.

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Being a first-time manager can feel like a daunting transition. Help yourself make the transition a smooth one with these AMA management resources and seminars.

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American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.

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    […] If you are a new manager, you inherit many responsibilities. Marina Theodotou explains why managing yourself must be the first task on your to-do list.  […]

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