How to be a Great First-Time Manager

We see you out there. Hustling, getting it done and, dare we say, living the dream. We love it! How many people get to do exactly what they are designed and destined to do?  Not many, and it’s so impressive, what you’re doing.

But we also see your frustrations.

Yes, you’re doing your dream job. But in order to succeed, you’re finding, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff to do that you never imagined you’d be doing. And the hardest one of all?

Hands down: Managing other people.

And yet, it must be done. In order to grow, you have to, at some point, hire human help. And –spoiler alert– if you’ve hired humans, you’ve become a manager. Not the dreamiest part of your dream job, but it’s the truth.

So, what next?

It won’t surprise you to hear that good management is what makes or breaks a business. Every team, even those connected only by computers and texts and Slack, needs good leadership to succeed. A virtual assistant may be someone you don’t know in person, but they are still a member of your team, and managing them well will add tremendous value to your business.

We understand that management may not be your passion or your background. However, as someone whose business is on the upward track, there are simple things you can do from the beginning that will set you apart as a great leader.

Here are our top-five tips for first-time managers that will make a virtual assistant a real help to your team.

how to be a great manager virtual assistant

1. Communicate clearly. (And communicate clearly, and then clearly communicate some more.)

Think of yourself as the coach of your team. You need to manage expectations on all sides. Be clear. Then leave room for them to ask questions, so that everything is clear. Employees want to please the boss–they just need to be told what to do, in (you guessed it!) clear language. 

2. Remove barriers for your team member(s) to do well at the job you’ve hired them for.

Prioritize your check-ins with your team member. Put them on the calendar and stick to the date. If they need resources to do their job well, make sure you allot for that. Stay open to requests, even if the answer is “not yet.” Let them know that you hear them and will do what you can to help them, help you.

3. Be Consistent.

This one goes back to clarity. It’s hard to work for someone who manages based solely on emotions. Gather information, and think through your response before you send it. When you take time to revisit your business priorities and values, you may find the right answer, as opposed to the quick one.

4. Find a mentor.

Talk to someone who’s been there. Someone you know–or who you want to know–has been through this, too, and wants to help you succeed. Ask, listen, and learn

5. Be open to growth.

Rarely does your effectiveness at business have much to do with your skills in your primary field. Let’s say that again: there are aspects of successfully running a business that will have absolutely nothing to do with your chosen field. Management is often one of them. Managing people is hard because, well, it means dealing with people. Be willing to own up to your mistakes, change the plan, and let your support staff do their job well.

If you are doing the job you’ve dreamed of doing, can we just applaud you once more? You are truly living an amazing life. Stay focused on your goals, and don’t let these challenging periods of growth discourage you. Times like these are a stepping stone to becoming even greater, making you an incredible leader and your business and team even better than you dreamed.

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