Setting out as a first-time manager

There comes a point in our careers where we are given the opportunity to step up from the ranks and manage a team for the first time.

For many, this is an exciting opportunity to make their mark and become accountable for the success of their own finance team; their hard work, study and long hours are finally paying off!  For others, it can be quite daunting as they find themselves responsible for delegating tasks, keeping their team motivated and managing them towards targets.

What for some will be an opportunity to effect change, for others has the potential to become quite overwhelming.  Even those with previous supervisory or mentoring experience can find their first line management role demanding.

Here are some practical tips that should help ease the transition from team member or supervisor to first time manager:

Show an interest in your team

The key to getting the most out of them will be understanding each member and what drives them. Take time to get to know the individuals, their career to date, their personal circumstances and aspirations. By understanding each of these you will be able to both set personalised goals and appreciate exactly what resources you have to draw on.  You’ll never please all of the people all of the time but understanding the challenges facing your team and helping them to overcome them should at least help get them onside.


Listening is commonly considered to be one of the more important parts of effective management. In order to engage with your team and be able to retain and influence them, you first need to listen to what they have to say. Management also means taking the direction of those above you and ensuring that you are absolutely clear on what is then expected of you and your team. Learning to become a better listener will help you build rapport with your manager, your peers and your team; It will also enable you to show support and empathy and become a better problem solver.

Find a mentor

Let’s face it management can be tough!  You’ll likely make the odd mistake along the way and you’ll learn as you go. However, it’s important to try and find a mentor in whom you can confide and from whom you can seek advice.  This could be someone either inside or outside the business. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of someone with a few grey hairs!

Recognise success

Be sure to give your staff credit where it’s due. You can create a positive team culture by recognising success and encouraging the team to highlight one another’s successes. Rewards don’t always have to involve a monetary prize, don’t forget the power of a simple “thank you” or “well done”

Be a role model

From the outset, your team will need to look-up to you and see you setting an example. Be sure to meet your deadlines, arrive on time for meetings and keep your word. Avoid idle office gossip and temper your personal opinions. You can’t expect your team to give 100% if they perceive you to be slacking off at any given opportunity!

Manage up

Be sure to set clear goals with your own boss. You’re now responsible for the output of a team and therefore it’s important to give regular progress updates and receive regular feedback. Ensure that your team are moving in the right direction and that their goals are aligned to what’s happening across the business. Be sure to ask for clear direction and access to resources in order to meet your goals.

Stepping into the world of management can of course be challenging, but is also highly rewarding.

If you’re ready to take the step into a middle / senior management position within finance please contact Glen Catchpole on 0113 237 2890 or by email