Updated: Sep 12
You've just secured that long-awaited promotion, and your career is taking a remarkable leap forward. The thrill of accomplishment is undeniable, but as you step into your new role, a tidal wave of responsibilities crashes over you. You've swiftly transitioned from being the one who executes tasks to the person who oversees them.
Now, the spotlight is on you, and expectations are high. Your team, direct reports, and senior managers are looking to you for guidance, solutions, and the smooth operation of the business. The whirlwind of managing people, acquiring essential leadership skills, navigating protocols, and engaging with senior stakeholders can be overwhelming.
In the midst of this whirlwind, it's easy to neglect your own health and wellbeing. The fear of making mistakes looms large, especially when your career's future hangs in the balance. Burnout becomes a genuine concern.
But fret not, because in this blog, I'm going to share with you five indispensable strategies that I used as a manager, which will protect and nurture your emotional and physical wellbeing as a first-time manager.
Schedule regular breaks
One of the things that I failed to do when I started out in my management career, was to book regular breaks throughout the day, and throughout the year for annual leave. I was the type of person that crammed in meetings back to back and barely had breathing space to stretch and go out for a short walk.
Your wellbeing as a leader is paramount. Your team needs you to be at your optimal best for you to be present for them and for the business. So you owe it to yourself to take frequent breaks. When scheduling meetings in your calendar, allow for 15-minute intervals to provide room for you to prepare for the next meeting, and give your brain space to breathe. Allotting an hour of focus time in the morning, preferably before any meetings, is a great way to align yourself for the day's responsibilities and priorities, concentrate on your strategy to any critical business issues, and catch up on the plethora of emails from the evening before.
Also try treating yourself to 10-30 minutes of meditation each week. In my last role, one of the employees took on the responsibility of hosting a Friday relaxation session via Microsoft Teams, and although most employees hardly ever showed up, I showed up consistently almost every Friday before starting work, and found it be a welcoming pause as I wrapped up projects and prepared to wind down for the weekend.
In addition, don't be afraid to use your PTO (also known as annual leave in the UK)!
Understand your limitations as a new manager
Remember, you're new to this role, so you're not expected to know everything and be an expert in all things right away!
It's OK to learn as you work, through trial and error. Be gracious and don't put undue pressure on yourself. Understand that you are not the saviour of the company, and be prepared to say "no" at times. You can't always please everyone as a leader. Your goal is to be an effective manager, not a people-pleaser.
Don't be afraid to delegate
One of the most important management skills to master is that of delegation. It's also one of the hardest to learn when you're so familiar with being a high-performer on your own. Delegation will enable your team to grow and become more independent, thus producing more high-performers. You want to be able to grow and coach your team to the point that you won't feel the need to micromanage them or worry about how they will operate when you're away on vacation.
Coach and delegate responsibilities to your team according to their strengths, and innovate ways to streamline processes to make tasks easier and more efficient, so they run like well-regulated machinery when you're gone.
Utilize HR and employee wellbeing support
It's not a sign of weakness as a first-time manager to acknowledge that you're burned out, or that you need more support and guidance.
Your human resources department is there to help you!
Make use of their guidance and consult with them personally if you have any concerns, worries, or questions about your employees' performance. Utilize their employee assistance program if your company has one, even if it's just to breathe and talk out the anxieties of the day. Often, when you talk things through, they don't seem so overwhelming after all!
Eat energizing and nutritious food
We are what we eat. If you eat junk, you'll feel sluggish, your quality of blood and vitality will be poor, and you'll even increase your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity.
As a vegan, I have found that my energy levels are at an all-time high, and I actually enjoy what I'm eating! I even completed a half marathon a few years back!
Watch your diet and take time to pump your body with fresh, healthy foods so you don't feel guilty or tired, and you can reduce the risk of sickness absence. Allow this food to fuel you for physical exercise so you're not tied down to your desk all day (although that is very easy to do).
You owe it to yourself to take care of your body.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you’d also love my weekly newsletter I release every Wednesday for new and aspiring managers.
Whenever you’re ready, here's how I can help you:
1:1 Time Management Coaching. This program is designed to empower individuals like you to take control of your time, improve time management skills, prioritize tasks effectively, and achieve a better work-life balance. Whether you're feeling overwhelmed by your daily responsibilities or seeking to optimize your productivity, our coaching sessions will be tailored to your specific needs and goals. Book a no-obligation FREE consultation.