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Management Skills

Top 5 Things New Managers Need to Know

Apr 27, 2015

Are Your New Managers Ready to Lead?

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It's exciting to make the jump into management. But studies show that many new supervisors and managers aren't prepared for the day to day challenges of the role. Even if they have a degree in business or an MBA, the classes in management theory may not have given them the skills they need to be an effective leader. 

Whether your company promotes from within, or hires first-time managers and supervisors from outside of the company, there's a lot they need to learn. Here are five things every newly hired or promoted manager needs to know to perform the way your business demands. 

1) Wage and Hour Laws for Their State and Sector

According to the Department of Labor, errors in classifying employees as hourly or salaried are among the most common -- and most costly -- of all wage and hour violations. Minimum wage requirements, employment rules for minors and the use of contractors are other common areas for violations and fines. Even if your company has an HR department to handle pay, new managers need to understand federal and local wage and hour laws to avoid scheduling issues, time of day assignment errors and inappropriate overtime practices. 

2) Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices

Everyone comes to a new job with personal biases. But new managers need to learn how to set aside their internal preferences for co-workers of a certain gender, age, ethnicity, sexual identity or religion as they interact with existing staff members, hire and fire and provide performance evaluations. Business schools touch on concepts of inclusion, but most don't offer practical training on how to overcome biased frames-of-reference to select and nurture the right person for each job. Managers also need to have the tools they need to address predjudice and discrimination among staff members to avoid conflict, bullying and harassment in their department. 

3) Ethics and Business Standards

In most businesses, information is power. Your company's trade secrets and internal practices are key to maintaining a profitable business. New managers and supervisors need to understand what constitutes a conflict of interest. They need to have a good grasp on confidentiality when it comes to sharing company information inside and outside of the company. Even seemingly harmless practices like accepting gifts from contractors and vendors can impact your company's performance and reputation. New supervisors need to know where the boundaries live when it comes to ethical (and legally mandated) business practices in your company and industry. 

4) Company values, goals and mission

Specialization might suggest that only those in the C-Suite need to understand the big picture when it comes to your company's long term goals and mission statements. But research shows that companies where every employee has a clear understanding of the company goals and standards perform better on every metric. New managers or supervisors coming into a company from the outside need to be presented with the overall goals, long term direction and company values so they can make choices that reinforce that mission, as well as reinforce them among their staff members. 

5) The (Legal) Way to Hire, Fire and Discipline Employees

There will come a time in every manager's career when they'll have to interview job applicants and hire a new employee. And odds are, they'll have to discipline a non-performing employee -- and maybe even fire someone. New managers and supervisors need to learn how to do these deceptively simple tasks with the best interest of the company at heart. And they need to know how to interview, hire and fire legally so your company doesn't end up in legal hot water. 

Ensuring that your managers are well trained in these five skill sets can turn beginners into assets in no time. So how does your company's management staff stack up? 

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