Being a first-time manager is no easy feat: You've reported to your superiors your entire career, and now you're expected to know how to delegate tasks and keep your team moving forward. Through this true test of leadership, you may question whether you're cut out for the job and can handle the burden of the course of your company's success.
Eleven entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share the pitfalls they encountered as a new boss, and how they learned from these mistakes to become a better and more confident manager.
1. Expecting your staff to have the same work traits and personality.
When I first started managing people, I often used the "if I were in their shoes" approach and wondered why they wouldn't react to situations the same way I did. Finally, I accepted that if they had the same mentality as I did, they would be running their own company. It's important to realize that everyone is different (from you and from other staff members), and they need to be managed accordingly. --Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf
2. Lacking confidence in meetings.
The biggest mistake I made as a new boss was not having confidence and letting that show in meetings. Not only was this an internal struggle of mine, but it also devalued my opinion among my colleagues. --Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
3. Not communicating clearly.
Susceptible to the demand of wearing many hats while starting up, I gave incomplete instructions to team members regarding their tasks and roles. I assumed they knew all the details in my head -- yet I did not share these with them. I've fixed this by taking more time to explain the task or role and what success looks like. I've also created a safe space for them to ask questions, so everyone is on the same page. --Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Video Doorbell
4. Being employees' friends instead of their boss.
I tried to be friends with the folks I was managing, and there came a point where I was forced to make tough decisions. Being a boss or leader requires the ability to make decisions that are best for the project at hand and align with company goals. Looking back, I would have spent more time working with my mentor regarding how to walk the line of leadership and friendship in the workplace. --Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors
5. Not proofreading.
I didn't have much money, and I spent a lot on marketing materials that had the wrong information on them. You have to triple check your materials, and always have another pair of eyes on them. I had to throw them out and it was a complete waste of money, especially when I had very little starting off. --Josh York, Gymguyz
As a new boss, my biggest mistake was micromanaging my team. When you micromanage, you're creating a suffocating environment where your employees aren't allowed to let their talent shine. Since then, I've adapted my management technique and am letting my employees have more control of their work. The results have been truly amazing. --Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders
7. Taking resignations personally.
I used to take it personally when team members left the company. It really feels like a family here, and it was hard to understand why anyone would leave. I've learned that people sometimes need a change for all kinds of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with the company. My goal is for them to think back on their time at WiderFunnel as a special experience in their career. --Chris Goward, WiderFunnel
8. Not coming into the office.
When we first started working in an office, I thought that as the boss I didn't have to come in. I missed so many critical opportunities to engage with our team. While I might have been more productive working from home, I did not inspire the focus and growth I do now by being in the office every single day. --Ross Resnick, Roaming Hunger
9. Not being supportive.
At first I thought the role of a boss was to crack down on employees and hold them accountable. While this is true, you need to identify when people are unable to do something--whether there are personal, social, or structural limitations to their abilities. Set up a weekly check-in to help them solve the biggest problem on their plate. --Mattan Griffel, One Month
10. Not clearly defining expectations.
I failed as a new boss because I didn't effectively communicate my expectations. Without clearly defined expectations, employees' processes will be less efficient and their results will suffer accordingly. By setting expectations upfront, all parties will understand the task at hand and the most efficient way to achieve the desired end result. --Matt Telmanik, CCS Construction Staffing
11. Not hiring from your network.
When we first started, we heard from other entrepreneurs that you shouldn't hire people you know. Keep your worlds separate. In hindsight, this was a big mistake. Businesses in their early days are crazy, and having the speed to get things done is paramount. I should have been open to hiring ex-colleagues or people I knew so the built-in trust was already there, rather than having to build it from scratch. --Fan Bi, Blank Label