3 ways new managers start off on the wrong foot

First impressions are vital when taking on a leadership role. For new leaders, a bad first impression can cause long-term consequences, whether positive or negative.

Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD, associate director for the Motivation Science Center at New York City-based Columbia University Business School, shared advice for new managers in an article published by the Harvard Business Review.

Here are three mistakes managers make when taking on a leadership role, according to Dr. Halvorson..

1. Pretend you know and can do everything. Many people naturally assume confidence is a key trait of leaders. But Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, PhD, author of Confidence, claims overconfidence can lead to setting unrealistic goals and cause unpopularity among team members. Instead, admit what you're unsure of and don't be afraid to ask questions. Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic suggests exhibiting modesty will cause people to add 20 to 30 percent to their estimate of your competence, according to Dr. Halvorson.

2. Act too professional and businesslike. Although many first-time managers fear being friendly will make them appear weak, Dr. Halvorson said people intuitively tune in to two aspects of your character — your warmth and your competence — to analyze your trustworthiness. While your warmth encompasses your kindness, loyalty and empathy, your competence includes your intelligence, creativity and effectiveness.

Though some believe leaders cannot exhibit both traits at once, Dr. Halvorson disagrees. "Engaging in 'warm' behaviors like appreciating and affirming others, actively listening and having empathy take nothing away from your reputation as a skilled and capable leader," she wrote.

3. Show your idiosyncrasies. Dr. Halvorson defines these foibles as "the crazy," or "the temptations, impulses and bad behaviors we struggle not to give in to, even though we know that they are socially unacceptable or self-destructive." Eliminating such habits from your life is the best solution, but in the meantime, hiding them from coworkers is wise. After all, "we don't trust people who appear to lack willpower or self-control."

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