Not long after I'd taken over leading a small team in a previous role, I chaired one of our regular briefing meetings.

At one point, I remember sitting there while two members of the team were arguing with each other and another one was having a go at me about something I'd just said which she took exception to. I remember thinking, " What the ( heck ) is going on here? "

I'd worked with all these people for years. I thought I knew them quite well and we all got on well together. I had always been senior to them, but now, for the first time, I was their direct line manager. And that changed everything.

Looking back, I can see that I could have handled the situation much better. Here are 5 mistakes I think I made - see if you can recognise them and, more importantly, see if you can avoid them!

Mistake No. 1

Not recognising that becoming their line manager would make such a difference.

Once you become someone's manager, you cross a line. Things are never the same.

You may wake up the next day and look and feel like the same person you were the day before, but other people will see you differently. You are no longer just a colleague, now you are " their manager ". This is particularly true if you are promoted from within a group of your peers.

You will face some resistance, resentment, even hostility from people you got on perfectly well with before. It's not even personal ( well, sometimes it is ), they are reacting to the position, not the person. The fact that you now have some authority over them changes the whole dynamic. They know that, even if you don't.

Mistake No. 2

Not understanding that new teams need some time to settle down.

You may have heard about teams going through different stages as they develop, including the " storming " stage. If you haven't, don't worry about it, just take my word - new teams, especially teams of bright, ambitious people, will not just settle down quietly.

There will be arguments, challenges, " turf wars " as people compete for position, try to claim the best work and look to see whether you are likely to advance, or hold back, their careers.

They will fight with each over roles and projects and they will fight with you over any perceived slight. The good news is that this will settle down after a while, and you can help by being very clear about what you expect from people, why you are making certain decisions and how you see the team moving forward.

Mistake No. 3

Being too open about my own thoughts and feelings.

Please see Mistake No. 1 - you cannot talk to people the same way once you are their manager. If you work in a team, you might have open conversations with people about how you feel, e.g. about some reorganisation that is going on or about some doubts you might have about what you're doing. That changes when you're the manager.

I'm all for managers being honest and open with people, admitting mistakes, etc. But be careful. There are some things you should not discuss, even with people who were your friends previously. For example, if you're a new manager, people in your team don't want to know that you feel anxious about how you're going to tackle things or that you didn't really want to take on the job in the first place.

In the early days, in particular, those sort of things should be kept to yourself or they will undermine your team's confidence in you and encourage them to question and challenge your leadership.

And one more thing - assume that anything you say to one team member will be passed on to every other team member as soon as the conversation is over!

Mistake No. 4

Not building a strong enough network.

I was never one for networking much in any of the organisations I used to work for. I never had a large circle of contacts and I never went out of my way to build one. That was a mistake.

You need to build a strong network of people around you, especially people at a higher level than you whom you can call on for advice and whom you can rely on to give you support when you need it.

Some people are much better at this than others and some find it quite natural. I'm a bit of an introvert, I don't easily start conversations with people I don't know, I don't like large groups of people and I'm not a " schmoozer " ( if you don't know what that means, you're probably not one either ).

But that's no excuse. I should have tried harder and I should have made a conscious effort to build my network. You can never do everything yourself and you need mentors, guides, coaches, sponsors, who will give you a hand and speak up for you when you need it.

Not doing that leaves you isolated and vulnerable and it makes life harder than it needs to be.

Mistake No. 5

Not realising that I was now part of " the establishment ".

If you're at a low level in an organisation, you might talk about the company as " them ". You may even see things as " them and us ", with " management " being some sort of enemy.

Whatever your own feelings, you have to accept that, once you take on a management position, things change ( did I mention that? ). Like it or not, now you represent the company or organisation you work for in the eyes of the people you manage. Now you have to stop talking about " them " and " us ".

Once you are a manager, there are some things you don't have the luxury of doing if you want to be respected and effective. Moaning about the organisation to your team is one of them. Complaining about how hard your job is - there's another one ( I didn't do that, by the way, but I know people who did ).

As a manager, there will be times when you have to implement things you don't really believe in. I'm not saying you have to be dishonest, and there may be times when you feel so strongly that you can't do what you're asked without compromising your principles. If that's the case, you need to make a decision.

But remember Mistake No. 3 - you can't be too open. People are looking to you for a lead and people, above and below you, won't respect you if you use your position to complain rather than getting on with your job and doing your best to carry out what you're asked to do.

So there you are, just 5 of the mistakes I certainly made over the years when I was a manager. I hope you'll be able to avoid them.

Author's Bio: 

Alan Matthews is a trainer, coach and speaker who helps people to be successful managers and leaders - people who can bring out the best in themselves and those around them. For more articles and a free copy of The Book Of 100 Management Tips, visit