Last updated April 19, 2024

Whether you’ve recently stepped into a leadership position or are on the brink of doing so, it can be daunting and difficult to build confidence as a new manager.

Starting a new managerial role can be an exciting chapter in your career, but it often comes hand-in-hand with a unique set of challenges and anxieties.

Learning how to build confidence as a new manager

Below are 12 tips that hopefully will make you less anxious and will help to give you confidence as you get experience in your new management role.

Understanding that these anxieties are common and acknowledging them as part of the learning process can help you as a new manager, to navigate these challenges more effectively.

Why Do New Managers Feel Anxiety and Become Anxious

There are several reasons why new managers and team leaders often experience anxiety including because of the following:

1. Lack of Experience

As a new manager, you may lack practical experience in handling the complexities of leadership.

The unfamiliarity with tasks such as team management, decision-making, and conflict resolution can contribute to anxiety.

2. High Expectations

There is often a perception, whether real or perceived, that as a manager, one needs to be perfect and have all the answers.

Your subordinates might expect you to instantly know all the answers even though you have yet to learn the intricacies of the job role.

This expectation to be almost perfect can lead new managers to easily feel anxious.

3. Fear of Failure

You have been promoted by senior managers who believe in you and have given you a great opportunity, and living up to these expectations can feel like a high-pressure situation for some new managers.

Furthermore, the responsibility of overseeing others and being accountable for team performance can be overwhelming.

4. Transitioning from Peer to Manager

If you are a new manager who was recently promoted from within the team, you may find it challenging to transition from being a peer to a position of authority.

Navigating relationships with former colleagues can create anxiety.

This is a very common cause of anxiety and sometimes results in some new managers experiencing imposter syndrome, meaning that they feel as though they do not deserve their role or are not qualified for the position. This self-doubt can contribute to heightened anxiety.

Always remember and keep in mind that you got the job because you deserve the opportunity!

5. Limited Training and Support

In many cases, new managers do not receive adequate training or support during their transition.

The lack of guidance and resources can leave them feeling unprepared and anxious.

Managers can become more confident through training and gaining key leadership skills.

If you can create opportunities for improvement then costs of training and development will usually be offset through increased productivity.

Leadership training ideas
>> New Managers Training Ideas

6. Balancing Multiple Responsibilities

Managers often have diverse responsibilities, from project management to employee development.

Juggling these tasks while ensuring the team’s success can create stress and anxiety.

12 Tips to Build Confidence as a New Manager

1. Understanding That Your Feelings Are Normal as a New Manager

As we have already touched on, acknowledging that many new managers experience feelings of anxiety, worry over being worthy of the role, feel the pressure of faith put in you, and keeping colleagues happy, will help you relieve some anxiety.

You are not alone! The feelings you will likely have are common for new managers.

Feeling anxious as a new manager is a common experience. Recognize that it is okay to feel this way and that you are not alone.

2. Build Strong Relationships

Establish open and honest communication with your team members from day one to try and be an effective leader.

Make it clear, for example, that you have an open-door policy for those you lead and that they should feel able to approach you at any time.

Try and also hold regular one-to-one meetings with your team members early on, so that you can get invaluable feedback from your team on their needs and anything you might perhaps be able to do better, and work to build a strong team.

Building strong relationships can alleviate anxiety and create a supportive work environment.

3. Learn and Reach out to Other Managers

Every manager has to start somewhere, so you will often find that some other managers will be very open and friendly with advice if you ask them for guidance.

Is there someone you can find who can act as a mentor of sorts, for you? This person might be your previous manager or a colleague in another department.

Having someone to turn to for help can be great for gaining confidence and reducing anxiety.

Confidence for managers and leaders is certainly something you can build as by reaching out to others it’s a great start.

4. Believe in Yourself

When we get caught up in the crazy workload we might have as a new first-time manager, it can be very easy to lose sight of the fact that you got the job for a good reason.

You have great experience or have shown great promise and you have been promoted.

When things get difficult, remember that you will learn and improve, and every new manager goes through the same process.

5. Prioritize Self-Care

Make sure to give precedence to activities that promote self-care, including exercise, adequate sleep, and engaging in hobbies, to uphold both your mental and physical well-being.

As a new manager, you will very likely find that it is extremely overwhelming at first, especially the learning curve involved in not just the everyday technical aspects of the job, but also with the people management skills.

As a result, the new role can take over your brain both in and outside of work and this leads to anxiety, as you get so engrossed mentally in the task ahead.

Making a real effort to maintain a steady and healthy lifestyle will greatly help in reducing your anxiety and keeping a good balanced work lifestyle.

5. Learn How to Be Mindful

There are inevitably stresses and strains as you mould yourself into an effective manager and, for this reason, understanding some basic ways (as a busy person) to relax and destress can be extremely useful.

If your company offers any form of mindfulness or well-being training, consider taking them up on the offer.

Mindfulness teachers lesson plans
>> Teaching Mindfulness for Business People

6. Mindfulness and Relaxation Practices

Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation practices into your routine for stress management. Gaining proficiency in simple techniques like deep breathing and meditation can offer valuable benefits.

Here is a good article also from Mind.org that you might find useful if you want to read more about work and reducing stress.

7. Problem-Solving Mindset

Learn to develop a problem-solving mindset to handle issues with a constructive attitude.

As a new manager, you will face many challenges and issues to solve and overcome, so see each as a chance to learn, grow, and gain experience.

Rather than be anxious, try and be excited at the chance this gives you to develop your skills.

8. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence Skills

In addition to practising mindfulness to stay present and manage stress, it is also worth working on improving your emotional intelligence skills and how you manage others emotionally, i.e. in terms of empathy. Consider doing the following:

  • Reflect on your emotions regularly. Identify patterns and triggers
  • Keep a journal of your feelings and reactions in different situations
  • Actively listen to others without judgment. Practice being fully present in conversations.
  • Avoid negative self-talk and cultivate a mindset of optimism.
  • Put yourself in others’ shoes to try and see things from their point of view.
  • Develop flexibility in your thinking and problem-solving approaches.

This skill will help you navigate challenging situations and foster positive relationships.

9. Celebrate Achievements

Learn to appreciate your achievements no matter how small or significant they are.

Consider keeping a diary and list each thing you achieve and do well.

Over time you will realize just how much you are achieving and developing, rather than feeling anxious thinking you have achieved very little when it is not true.

10. Expand Your Knowledge and Skills:

Invest time in learning and professional development. Staying informed about industry trends and enhancing relevant skills boosts your confidence as a knowledgeable leader.

If you are looking for a book on how to manage, I highly recommend ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey.

If your HR Department does not proactively offer you training, ask them what is available.

11. Work on Your Public Speaking Skills

Practice presenting ideas and updates to your team or in larger meetings. The ability to articulate your thoughts contributes to a more confident managerial presence.

A great way to do this is to join a local Toastmasters Club (they are worldwide) so that you can practice your public speaking skills, get great feedback and learn amongst like-minded people.

12. Empowerment and Delegation

Confidently empower and delegate tasks to your team members. Give them an opportunity and show them trust.

Good leadership is closely tied in with good delegation and this means an opportunity to reduce your own pressures and workload.

It is worth also reading our post on 35 issues and challenges faced by 1st-time managers.

Examples of Overcoming Workplace Anxiety & Solutions

Scenario 1: The Employee Performance Review at Symonds Solutions Inc.

Scenario

Petra, promoted to a managerial role at Symonds Solutions Inc., had to conduct performance reviews for the first time. Anxious about providing constructive feedback, she was concerned about how her team members would react.

Solution and Result

Recognizing her discomfort, Petra decided to attend a workshop on effective performance feedback.

Armed with new communication skills, she approached the reviews with empathy and constructive criticism.

The result was improved team performance and a positive work atmosphere.

This experience taught Petra the significance of continuous learning and development in overcoming managerial anxiety.

Scenario 2: The Client Negotiation Challenge at Cano Ventures Consulting

Scenario

Ollie, a new account manager at Global Ventures Consulting, was tasked with negotiating a contract extension with a key client. Feeling the pressure of preserving the client relationship, he was hesitant and anxious about the negotiation process.

Solutions and Result

Acknowledging his lack of experience in negotiations, Ollie sought mentorship from a senior colleague.

Under their guidance, Ollie prepared thoroughly, focusing on understanding the client’s needs. The negotiation resulted in a successful contract extension, and Ollie gained confidence in his ability to navigate complex business interactions.

This experience taught him the importance of mentorship and preparation in overcoming anxiety in client-facing situations.

Scenario 3: The Decision-Making Dilemma at Financial Harmony Corp

Scenario

Suzy, newly promoted to a managerial role at Financial Harmony Corp, faced a significant decision regarding the allocation of resources for an upcoming project and found it stressful. The weight of the decision-making responsibility triggered anxiety for Suzy as she worried about making the wrong choice.

Solution and Result

Realizing her hesitancy, Suzy decided to gather input from her team members.

Conducting a collaborative decision-making session, she leveraged the diverse expertise within her team.

The result was a well-informed decision that not only addressed concerns but also showcased Suzy’s commitment to inclusive leadership.

This experience taught her the power of collaboration and shared decision-making in overcoming managerial anxiety.

1st-Time Manager Training Materials

If you are interested in first-time manager training you can find training on topics such as inclusive management, managing virtual teams, collaboration skills, and mentoring skills by clicking the banner below.

How do new managers gain confidence?

Training can be key for 1st-time managers in skills such as inclusive leadership, conflict management, and leadership skills. Also get to know your team using 1-to-1 meetings and use what you learn to build the team moving forward.

Why is confidence important for a manager?

When you are leading a team of people, showing confidence helps to breed trust and belief in others that you will be able to lead them well.

What does a confident manager look like?

A confident-looking manager is one who:
1. Speaks with confidence and authority
2. Communicates clearly
3. Shows positive body language
4. Makes clear decisions
5. Is approachable

Training course materials
Dr Valeria Lo Iacono