Melbourne Business School News Heres a checklist for what to do if youve become a boss for the first time

Heres a checklist for what to do if youve become a boss for the first time

Aviva Berzon has some good news for first-time bosses – it's OK to feel like you don't know what you're doing.


Aviva teaches executive development at Melbourne Business School and has some useful tips to help new bosses overcome their anxiety.

"First-time bosses typically progress through the ranks because of their technical competence, not necessarily their people skills, but they need to learn how to manage people," Aviva says.

In her experience, new managers tend to continue to focus on solving problems, making it harder for others to come forward with their own solutions.

"You need to reflect on your leadership style and understand how other people work and what they need in a situation. Is it clear direction and guidance, or is it empowerment to do their own thing?"

Aviva says the best managers are coaches who know when and how to delegate and support rather than micro-manage.

"If you're a coach, you see the other person as having the ability to come to a good solution, even if you think you know better. By letting them find their feet, you won't always need to rescue them."

It's also common for first-time bosses also struggle with imposter syndrome, she says. 

"It’s common for new managers to wonder if they deserve their new role or can even do it, so they may wear a mask or work really hard to 'prove themselves'. But if you're not genuine about your feelings, you can’t create a culture of trust, which you need to lead a team well."

The ultimate goal of a manager, Aviva says, should be to work more on the organisation’s opportunities and challenges, and less on doing their team’s day-to-day tasks. Here are her tips for getting there:

Aviva Berzon's checklist for new managers

* Be honest with your team, even if you're a little overwhelmed in your new role. Being open will help build trust.

* Behave like a coach and delegate appropriate responsibility to members in your team to build their confidence and abilities.

* Set individual and team goals together with team members, and use them as a performance checklist.

* Support your team, give feedback and encourage members of the team to provide you with feedback. 

* Seek support for yourself from managers or mentors you admire, to help you understand your leadership strengths and weaknesses, and to set personal goals for yourself and your team.

* Make reflection a part of your regular routine, individually and with your team – meet regularly with your team and make time to track how you're going.

* Learn to let go and step away from the day-to-day to focus more on your team's or organisation's goals.

Programs for first-time bosses

Melbourne Business Schools offers several education programs for first-time managers to help them, and their teams, succeed.

Our five-day Emerging Managers Program focuses on the management tools you need to get on top of the organisational challenges as a new manager, with some leadership development skills as well.

The five-day New Leaders Development Program focuses on developing your self-awareness and people management skills, plus some useful management tools.

Finally, our three-day Maximising Your Leadership Potential course combines leadership development and reflection with tools to help you align your team's goals to those of the wider organisation.

To find out more about short courses that can help you take your career to the next level, view our range of Executive Education programs.