Being a new manager is extremely difficult: New managers are often thrown into their position after being a high performer in an individual contributor role. Because of this, new managers are often put into a role that requires a completely different skill set with little to no transition planning or support. As a new manager, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone and that no one else has ever felt this way … that’s not true! Most people feel a sense of imposter syndrome and never talk about it.

The following is a list of four essential skills for first time leaders. This list won’t cure all sense of imposter syndrome or magically give you the skills you need to lead a high-performing team. It’s extremely important that first-time leaders are experimental in their practicing of these skills — they should use them, reflect on them, make improvements and then start the cycle over again.

4 Skills for New Leaders — and How to Develop Them

1.  Communication.

Communication is essential up and down your line of management. The most important lines of communication to establish first are consistent one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports and with your own manager. These are best held weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Each one-on-one meeting should have an agenda that includes wins, challenges, updates on projects and objectives, and giving and receiving feedback. The talking points should be added to the agenda before the meeting so that all involved parties are prepared for the meeting. This will allow for a productive conversation and the time to talk about what’s important.

Open communication with direct reports allows for relationship building and a space to hear their challenges and then coach for potential solutions to those problems. And open communication with your own manager will allow for effective “managing up,” a chance to advocate for the success of your team and time for relationship building.

2. Time management.

Calendars can quickly become overloaded with meetings — if you let them! As a first-time leader, it’s difficult to feel ownership of your calendar, but this is far from the truth. Sure, some meetings have mandatory attendance. You can’t get out of every all-hands meeting or new technology roll out training, but you can make sure that your time is aligned with your priorities and job function.

My general rule of thumb is to make sure I have no more than 2-3 meetings on my calendar per day. I feel burned out when I leave work for the day and ask myself “Did I do anything today? Did I contribute to my objectives at all?” Maybe you feel energized from meetings; I can’t tell you if you are or aren’t! With time management, I’ve found it’s important to be clear with the activities that are energizing and draining as well as knowing your personal values. Then be intentional about how you schedule your day with that information. Don’t be afraid to propose new meeting times or ask organizers for a meeting agenda. Most importantly, with every “yes” you give at work, be clear about what you’re saying “no” to. For example: When I say yes to back-to-back meetings, I say “no” to achieving projects. As a CliftonStrengths “achiever,” this isn’t aligned with my skills, so I build my schedule with that in mind.

3. Goal setting.

Proper goal setting for yourself and your team provides everyone with a clear direction and creates a roadmap for success. During the first few months of being a manager, the most important goals to set are for existing/future projects and annual team/individual goals (or however often your organization has performance reviews structured).

This will establish a framework of what needs to be achieved, and keep the team aligned and fuel motivation. There are many different tools out there to aid with goal setting. If your organization already pays for a program, it will be easiest to start there. Once goals have been set for the team, the manager’s job of prioritizing tasks, managing resources and producing results becomes more manageable. With clear goals, every team member understands their roles, responsibilities and the collective vision the team is working toward! Delegation should be used when setting goals for team members, so it’s important to be clear about which level of delegation is being assigned for each task. Confusion leads to chaos and frustration — which leads to our next skill.

4. Delegation.

Delegation can be extremely difficult for new managers but is key for maintaining a work-life balance, reducing team burnout and turnover, and increasing time for strategic planning and decision-making. Tasks should be delegated to team members based on their strengths and capabilities. However, delegation can also provide the team with opportunities for growth by developing new skills and will promote a team culture of continuous learning.

There are three ways a manager can delegate: defining a specific task, idea generation or assigning authority. This is extremely important to think through as you assign tasks to your team members. Defined tasks give responsibility to an individual that is highly structured, and the procedures are standardized. Idea generation can be used when more training may be needed to fully delegate the task, but that team member’s input will be helpful to the person doing the task. Lastly is assigning full authority to the task. This shouldn’t be used until that member is qualified and has defined decision-making authority. Delegating authority is a good way to develop critical thinking and empowerment.

Parting Thoughts

It’s important to remember that being a manager requires a new set of skills that rarely get used as an individual contributor on a team. That said, it’s normal to make some mistakes, have imposter syndrome and learn along the way. Practice the four skills outlined above, reflect on your ability to perform each of them, and then use that feedback loop to improve the bad and do more of the good.

No one becomes a great manager overnight, but your team will recognize and appreciate the effort and improvement you put in to becoming a better leader.