You may be new to the ranks of management. Or taking the helm after relocating to a different store. Or just looking for a fresh start in your current position. As a new restaurant manager, the most important thing for you to remember is this: your followers make you a leader, not the other way around. Although your title as manager carries a certain level of distinction and authority, it no longer supersedes the need to earn respect and establish credibility with your employees.

Dress impeccably.

If you don’t present a positive image to your employees and guests, how can you expect your employees to respect and follow you? Set the standard for appropriate attire in your restaurant. If a long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans are customary for management, have your shirts pressed and wear great looking shoes. Employees will get the message that appearance is important to you, and you’ll set the standard for their uniforms without saying a word.

Don’t be late.

Planting seeds of doubt about your leadership skills is easy to do. Just ask the kitchen employees who have been waiting 45 minutes outside the door for your arrival, along with the produce driver. Bare minimum, be on time. Better yet, be early. Turn on the kitchen lights and put on a fresh pot of coffee. By the time your crew arrives, have complete, accurate prep sheets prepared as well as towels, knives, sanitizer and cutting boards ready to go. It’s amazing how much work you can get done without the constant interruptions you’re faced with when employees are in the building.

Begin to establish your level of tolerance.

As you provide direction during week one of achieving leadership excellence, it’s better to come in uncompromising and ease up, if necessary, than to come in soft and attempt to toughen up later. If you wait, you only create obstacles. If you ignore improper behavior when you see it, you’ve reinforced negative behavior by not addressing it.

Never let ’em see you sweat.

Even in the face of a crisis, never allow your staff to see you overreact or crumble under the pressure. Stay cool, level-headed and calm at all times. Your employees are just waiting to see how you’ll handle the pressure. Think of it like this: If the building were on fire, you’d be the last one strolling out. Not running. Your ability to exhibit self-control and confidence builds immediate credibility and makes you easier to follow.

Plan tomorrow today.

Set aside time each day, before you leave, to plan and organize for the next day. Glance over schedules and sales forecasts, noting any special events that will require your attention. It not only assists you on the job, but also helps relieve the stress of mentally taking work home with you.

Excerpted from Leadership Now: Achieving Restaurant Management Excellence In 30 Days. Designed to be read, understood and actionable in less than an hour, Real World Management Series handbooks provide to-the-point strategies to get the most out of your job as a restaurant owner, operator or manager.