5 Things To Do Within 48 Hours of Becoming a Manager
My first ever leadership position was at 12 years old. I was a girl scout and my patrol voted me to be their leader.
Aside from feeling flattered and proud of myself – after all, I must have done something right to deserve this – I was taken with insecurity for not knowing what that actually meant in practical terms and what the next few weeks or months would look like.
I was told then, for the first time, that leadership wasn’t about recognition. It was about responsibility.
Fast forward to my third year of college. I was working for AIESEC – an organization that promotes leadership development through practical leadership and management opportunities – and was selected to lead the organizational committee of our volunteer recruitment process.
Again, I felt honored but unprepared, even with AIESEC’s well established structure to train and prepare people for their next steps. There was something about being a normal team member one day, then being a “leader” the next day that felt strange. It was like my status took a leap, but not my skills, so there was fear of not being able to deliver.
I was asked earlier this week about how to know when you are prepared to take your next challenge and to be in charge, and thought of these two occasions when I felt like I was given the opportunity but my skills were not enough to deliver the results.
What I found later on as I took one leadership opportunity after another, was that in a highly functional environment and culture, leadership happens naturally. People take on more and more responsibilities within the scope of their job and excel at them. They – then – become the obvious choice to lead their team.
And – yes – delivering excellent work and managing people to deliver excellent work require different skill sets, but it’s the earning part of it that grants top performers the trust required to make them the person in charge, even if learning the management side of things represents a learning curve.
“In a highly functional environment and culture, leadership happens naturally.”
Taking over a new team can be challenging
Assess The Current Situation Of The Team
Are you inheriting a team? Are you starting from scratch? Is your team united or scattered? Is there any conflict to address? Make a list of your team members and list the things you know about them, including their likes and dislikes, what they would like to learn and what are the strengths you have observed in them.
That can give you a good roadmap to addressing individual needs and making a good first impression as manager. You want people to know that you care about them, and there is no better way to do that than to address their needs.
If you don’t know much, use the first 48hrs to book individual chats with people and talk about your values and ask them about their own. That alone can give you enough insight to help you delegate tasks and give feedback.
Set Your Own Goals
These are not Team goals. They are your manager goals. Think about what you would like to accomplish through your management and create a vision for the team you want to form, taking into consideration the personalities and work styles of the people you currently have.
Would you like to have a high-performing, super candid team or would you like to have a supportive, family feel to it?
Create a Calendar of Big Things
What are the big things your team needs to deliver in the next year? Where are they located in the calendar? Where would you like to innovate? Making a list of these things can help put a lot into perspective when you become a manager.
If you see that the workload of the team will be heavy around a certain period of the year, you may want to get everyone together and brainstorm solutions ahead of schedule. That alone shows you are a considerate manager who is invested in not overworking your people or compromising their wellbeing.
Your ability to foresee the work that needs to be done, delegate accordingly and train, guide and trust your people to get it done will be crucial to
30 – 60 – 90
A 30-60-90 is a plan you make for the first three months, considering the milestones you have to achieve. In this particular case, I recommend focusing on yourself as a manager. Here is an example:
- 30 days: Have one coaching meeting with all team members; Organize one Team Building activity to increase engagement and come up with vision and goals for the team; Facilitate one Plan meeting to assess what you want to accomplish and what team members would like to innovate in; Ensure all team members have an outlined job description with their responsibilities and KPIs.
- 60 days: Have a second coaching meeting with all team members for feedback; Facilitate or organize
trainingsfor team members for relevant skills they need to acquire; Have one check up meetingto see what aspects of your plan are going smoothly and what needs attention.
- 90 days: Have third coaching meeting with team members and request feedback; Organize team feedback moment for bonding purposes; Have one check up
meetingto see aspects of plan that may be going badly; Organize relevant trainings for team members.
Train Yourself On What You Don’t Know
Now you know what you want to accomplish, you’ve assessed the current situation and you know what’s coming up
- Coaching: This is an essential skill to get the best out of people in a team experience. Performance oriented coaching can be the single most important input a manager can give to a team, and it is something you can learn. I recommend Lisa Gates’ Coaching and Developing Employees course. This course also includes an important section on Feedback, which is another topic to learn about if you just became a manager.
- Conflict resolution: Hopefully you are inheriting a team with a positive culture, but if that isn’t the case and there is any type of tension, investing some time in learning about conflict resolution can go a long way for you. I recommend Fred Koffman’s Conflict Resolution Course on Lynda.com.
- Meetings: These can be tough to manage. I am one of those people who thinks if something can be solved any other way, let’s not have the meeting. But when managed well and by a considerate facilitator, meetings can be enjoyable and truly productive. I recommend Dave Crenshaw’s course Leading Productive Meetings.
Bringing it all together:
- If you just became a manager, it is normal to feel insecure about the things you don’t know. But it’s imperative to take steps to prepare yourself.
- Delivering excellent work and managing people to deliver excellent work are two very different things that require different sets of skills that can be learned.
- If you are feeling insecure about this challenge you are about to take on, take the following steps to feel better and remain focused:
- Assess The Current Situation Of The Team
- Set Your Own Goals
- Create a Calendar of Big Things
- 30 – 60 – 90
- Train Yourself On What You Don’t Know
Diana Alves Da Cunha Costa
Social Media Strategy | Community Engagement | Freelance Writing | Digital Marketing
Diana is a business consultant from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is passionate about leadership development and personal growth. Her dream is to live in a world where education is stimulating, disruptive and encouraging of each individual’s uniqueness.