I started with Google. I was searching about managing my first employee, because I was about to have the chance. Finding info about managing your first employee shouldn’t be that hard, right? But most of the results had to do with entrepreneurs hiring their first staff member, and there was very little to do with becoming a first time manager of employees. Here’s a little of what I learned over the past few months.
Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to bring on an intern to help with some overdue tasks, ongoing support, and basically anything else I could dig up. I’d been falling behind on some actions for a while after a hiring/recruiting surge, and I needed some additional part time help to fill that gap.
We interviewed several people, but one college student, V, had the attitude and skill set that I desperately needed.
Looking back now, it’s kind of funny. IÂ write about talent management here fairly often. I know the theories, ideas, concepts, and methods for managing people.
And it’s still hard.
I fell into the traps.
I got a little lazy at times.
But I still learned a significant amount, the stakes were fairly low, and V (world’s greatest intern!) was forgiving.
She has learned a significant amount this summer, but so have I.
I learned a few things about myself, my work style, and a few quirks as well. Here are a few of the more pertinent ones:
- Managing your first employee is going to be a different experience. It’s not like “doing” the work.
- Be sure to delegate things that the person is good at. I hired an organization ninja because I’m not one. And she has been a godsend.
- Ask how you’re doing in a frank, honest way. Don’t discourage feedback of any kind.
- Buy them lunch. Or breakfast. Or a cookie. Especially if they’re an intern or admin staff, you can afford to do that once in a while.
For those of you with plenty of management experience under your belt, what tips would you give a first time manager? What has been your best tool over the years?
Help fill their resume. Ask yourself what skills wisdom or projects you can give that will help them become a better person and employee. What do you have that is unique that they cannot get anywhere else.
Love that suggestion, Dave! My former manager was fantastic at that aspect, and I very much appreciated it from my perspective.