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9 Mistakes New Managers Should Avoid

Rookie manager mistakes. They’re predictable. They’re also mostly preventable.

Here are nine that jump up and bite too many first-time managers.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Rookie Manager Mistake No. 1: Assuming you’ve been tapped for this new role to “shake things up.”

Reality: In the history of first-time managers, approximately zero were promoted into their new role with the charter to “shake things up.” The boss who promoted you is cautiously optimistic that you won’t screw things up too badly. Maybe over time, if you prove capable you will be able to shake gently.

Rookie Manager Mistake No. 2: Assuming the people on your new team are happy to see you in this role.

Reality: There are likely to be a variety of opinions about your elevation to this role, ranging from resentment to jealousy to ambivalence. Beware the false enthusiasm. Everyone’s waiting to see who and what you are before deciding whether to support or subvert you. You’ve got to earn your credibility.

Rookie Manager Mistake No. 3: Adopting the “I’m in charge” tone.

Reality: The last person who uttered the phrase, “There’s a new sheriff in town,” and got away with...

The Top 10 Challenges for New Managers

Some jobs are harder than others. Navigating the waters of your first-time manager position ranks high on the list.

The initial few weeks (years) are what I term the early-awkward phase. Mastery isn’t an issue. Survival is. Mastery comes next decade. Maybe.

Most individuals arrive at their first-time management position in one of two ways: battlefield promotion or deliberate development program. You can guess which one is most common.

The battlefield promotion path to management means you’ve got a heartbeat and someone somewhere has a feeling you won’t screw this up too badly. And if you do, well, they’ll promote the next one standing.

For those of you fortunate enough to come to your new role via a proper development path, complete with training, coaching and ample time guiding initiatives, you’ve got a slight advantage. You at least have a clue about what you don’t know.

Regardless of your path to the role, you have at least 10 challenges to navigate the minute you walk in the door on your first day:

Top Ten Challenges of the New Manager:

  1. Gain you subordinates’ trust.
  2. Establish your credibility.
  3. Show respect.
  4. Understand the mission of your team...

Power Causes Brain Damage

If power were a prescription drug, it would come with a long list of known side effects. It can intoxicate. It can corrupt. It can even make Henry Kissinger believe that he’s sexually magnetic. But can it cause brain damage?

When various lawmakers lit into John Stumpf at a congressional hearing last fall, each seemed to find a fresh way to flay the now-former CEO of Wells Fargo for failing to stop some 5,000 employees from setting up phony accounts for customers. But it was Stumpf’s performance that stood out. Here was a man who had risen to the top of the world’s most valuable bank, yet he seemed utterly unable to read a room. Although he apologized, he didn’t appear chastened or remorseful. Nor did he seem defiant or smug or even insincere. He looked disoriented, like a jet-lagged space traveler just arrived from Planet Stumpf, where deference to him is a natural law and 5,000 a commendably small number. Even the most direct barbs—“You have got to be kidding me” (Sean Duffy of Wisconsin); “I can’t believe some of what I’m hearing here” (Gregory Meeks of New York)—failed...

Beyond Buyouts and RIFs: A More Effective Approach to Workforce Management

On April 12, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum requiring agencies to develop plans to reduce their workforces. This has led many agencies to search in their talent management toolkit for help.

The usual tools employed—reductions in force, Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments, and managed attrition—are being dusted off. But federal executives can do themselves a favor by turning to two neglected talent management tools: data analytics and mobility programs. When combined together, they can help agencies manage workforce reductions in the most effective way.

I say this from experience. In 2013, I was in charge of reducing my office’s headcount following the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s surge at the Energy Department, which left us with too many people with too little to do. We performed a workforce restructuring study that relied heavily on data analytics and then used the usual tools (VERA/VSIP in particular) in combination with a mobility option that helped us retain the talent we needed for future operations. This option involved the use of managed relocation programs, including employee relocation assistance programs. (These are distinct from recruitment, retention and relocation bonuses and telework/flexible...

The Essential Guide To Staying In Shape On Your Next Business Trip

Among the lies I tell myself before business trips are two old favorites: “I’ll stick to seltzer and lime at cocktail hour” and “I’m going to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to exercise.”

Typically, neither happens (my most consistent travel workout is lugging my exercise gear through the airport). But it is possible—through a combination of hospitality perks and sheer will power—to stay fit even when you’re far from home. Here are some helpful tips:

Schedule workouts in advance

Time is limited on business trips, especially if you’re going to a conference jam-packed with panels and brainstorming sessions. That makes it important to plan your exercise breaks the same way you would one-on-one meetings: Put them in your calendar.

Is the hotel gym less than ideal? Check out local spots that offer day passes for a better workout, recommends Bethany Snodgrass, a fitness coach at Equinox.

Of course, crunches won’t matter if you’re also scarfing truffle mac and cheese. While you’re planning your workouts, try to scope out any menus you know of, and plan what you’re going to eat (or at least what you’re going to...