6 conversations a new manager should have

 Oct 20, 2016

To those who have just been promoted to a new managerial role, congratulations! For those of us who have been in such roles for some time, I’m sure we all have some valuable tips based on our own experience and hindsight for the newbies.

When I look back at my own experience in gaining my very first management role, it was both an exciting and daunting time. I had not been provided with the benefit of any training in preparation, but had been plucked out of my then current position and “thrown” head first into what seemed to be another world. It was a case of sink or swim and, luckily for my team, I revelled in the challenge.

So, looking back, here are 6 tips I wish I’d been given to make my transition into management easier:

Tip #1: If possible, have a discussion with your predecessor to understand both your new responsibilities and gain some background information on the team. Ideally, do this if you have the opportunity for a hand over period. However, please keep in mind, what you hear is only one person’s assessment, and it’s important to withhold judgement to avoid going into the role with any biases.

Tip #2: Have a discussion with your direct manager to ensure you are clear on both the purpose and business objectives for you and your team. This information will assist in creating a clear line of sight in everything you do.

Tip #3: If time permits, utilise your first week by spending time with and observing each member of your team. Ask questions about their role and how they work. I've found the following questions to be very useful in establishing strong communication channels when taking on a new team:

  • What do you like and don’t like about your current job? Why is that?
  • What improvements would be beneficial to both our customers and team? Why is that?
  • How do you prefer to be managed? Why is that?
  • If I were to give you some constructive feedback, how would you prefer I do that?
  • If I were to praise you for your work, how would you prefer I do that?

Tip #4: Once you have had time to gather and digest all of the above information, you’ll be in a solid position to have a productive team meeting to share your findings, clarify your role and expectations for the team. Use this time and subsequent meetings to establish a culture of open communication and team problem solving opportunities.

Tip #5: Lead by example by scheduling one-on-one time for coaching and seeking feedback on your performance as a leader.

Tip #6: Take the opportunity to talk to your customers (both internal and external) to understand their expectations of your team. This will ensure you are focusing on the important things that will contribute to business retention and growth. Some organisations conduct customer surveys, so tap into this valuable information if it exists.

These tips will assist you in creating a positive first impression with your new team and should lead you into the establishment of a focused and collaborative working environment. If you're interested in developing the foundation skills and practical techniques to assert yourself in your new management role, you should consider New Horizons' The New Manager training program.

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About the Author:

Trish Dobe  

Trish has over 20 years of experience in organisational development, change management, and corporate learning & development both within Australia and overseas. As one of New Horizons' Professional Development trainers, Trish’s main focus is the delivery of solutions which enable organisations to measurably improve their performance. Trish specialises in the delivery of training programs in the areas of performance management, leadership, process improvement, sales and customer service. From a practical standpoint, she has held a number of roles varying from front-line through to senior management within a variety of commercial environments. With this, Trish brings her practical experience into the classroom and gives her the ability to engage professionals from junior to senior levels.

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