9 Things New Managers Should do First

by Greg Skloot
Management   |   4 Min Read
what a new manager should do

You just got promoted to being a manager. It feels like the first day of school. It’s exciting, and admittedly rather intimidating. Where do you start?

The simple answer: have a 1-1 meeting with each team member. I’m going to break down the goals of these meetings, and from there some quick win processes to implement, ensuring your team is on a high path to success. The goals are simple:

Identify the most pressing issues

Look at yourself as a consultant. Your job is to come in and make people comfortable to vent about all of their frustrations. As you hear more people do this, the most common problems will quickly bubble to the surface.

Find quick wins that are easy to fix

As you listen, some problems your new team members bring up will have simple solutions in your mind. A great way to build trust and initial momentum with your team is delivering quick wins to annoying, persistent problems.

Learn about each team member’s personality

These 1–1 meetings will provide quite a bit of insight into each person’s personality. How do they work? What makes them tick? You should write down pages of notes. This will be tremendously helpful as you learn about your team dynamics, strengths and weaknesses.

Give everyone an opportunity to speak their mind

It’s also valuable to give everyone 1–1 attention and an opportunity to speak their mind and be heard. Even if they don’t surface any key problems or insights, they will feel encouraged by the fact that their manager is taking the time to listen.

Once that is done successfully, ensure you have some basic team management processes in place.

Weekly team meetings

Schedule a weekly team meeting at the same time, same place every week. This meeting should be focused on discussion, debate and decision making. Avoid the classic “update meeting” that everyone despises.

Weekly status updates

Start a process of having each team member write a quick status update once per week and share it with the group. This will include their top objectives, concerns and upcoming week’s plans. Look at a tool like Weekly Update to do that process.

Quarterly goals

Ensure that are clear, measurable goals set for at least the current quarter. Some teams are operating aimlessly, with no clear objectives or next steps. As the new manager, ensure there is measurable structure in place so the team knows what success looks like.

Defined roles and responsibilities

If it’s not already done, make sure that each team member understands his/her roles and responsibilities. If there is overlap, document who is responsible for what so they don’t step on each other’s toes.

Progression plan for each employee

Finally, document a progression plan for each team member. This is an outline of how they could advance and take on new roles or more responsibility in the organization. It goes a long way by taking the initiative and genuine interest in your team’s success.

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