Stepping into a managerial role for the first time can be difficult. There is plenty to learn, but you will get better through experience.

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Stepping into a managerial role for the first time can be difficult. There is plenty to learn, but you will get better through experience.

Here is a seven-point guide to help rookie bosses quickly get control of the job, demonstrate competence and establish authority with a minimum of frustration:

Learn the ground rules. Policies and procedures may make dull reading, but they should be mastered as soon as possible.

One of the first things employees wonder about new supervisors is how well they know the rules. Knowing what the “book” says and how the rules should be administered are simple but effective ways of earning employee respect during the first days on the job.

Be mindful of employment laws. Supervisors are held to a much higher standard than employees. Avoid asking inappropriate interview questions — or making pay or promotion decisions based on a person’s age, sex, pregnancy, race, religion, disability or family responsibilities.

Know when to report situations to HR, including medical requests and complaints of discrimination or harassment. A good motto: When in doubt, reach out (to HR).

Clarify expectations. This should be done on an individual basis with each employee during the supervisor’s first month.

The process serves several purposes: First, it gives the manager an excellent means of getting acquainted with team members; second, it offers the boss a way to set or reinforce goals and standards; and third, it gives the new supervisor a chance to demonstrate that he or she knows what must be done and how to set the wheels in motion.

Identify problems — and resolve them. During the initial information-gathering phase, a new manager will often see what could be interpreted as problem areas (procedures, relationships, work habits, and so forth). Employees could be aware of those problems, as well. If that’s the case, what the supervisor does — and how he or she handles the problems — is vital.

If the new boss postpones actions or overreacts, the team will suspect a weak or indecisive leader. If the problems are addressed directly and fairly, the boss gains early respect.

Administer reprimands and discipline consistently. Disciplining employees shouldn’t be a trial-and-error process of too harsh or too easy before finding the right touch. Inconsistent discipline will hurt morale and trigger discrimination complaints.

Make changes slowly. Though it’s wise to take prompt action when you see problem areas, be cautious about doing too much too soon. Abrupt and numerous changes paint the new supervisor as a bulldozer boss with no regard for employees’ workload. Introduce changes in increments in a well-thought-out plan.

Don’t do everything yourself or overmanage. Managers are tasked with getting work done through others, not doing everything themselves. Delegate tasks to employees based on their strengths.

Also, don’t hover or micromanage. Tell employees what needs to be done and by when. Then step back. Remind them that your door is always open, but trust in their abilities.