Most managers are promoted on a Friday and come in to work Monday morning not quite sure how to begin their new role. They want to gain the respect of their team and earn credibility, but they don't know what it means to "be the boss."
You won't gain total credibility on your first day as a new manager. But you can set the tone for the kind of manager you're going to be. Unfortunately, navigating your new role will probably fall mostly upon you; only 12% of organizations have formal management training programs and about 58% of new managers feel unprepared in their new role (TLNT, 04/1/14). But there are decisions you can make on your very first day that will lend you respect immediately and set your trajectory toward trust and credibility.
- Schedule time to talk one-on-one with your new team members.
You won't be able to actually sit down with all of your team members on your first day, but you should reach out to each individually and get a one-on-one meeting scheduled. You might have lots of ideas for improvement, initiatives, and programs, but this is the not the time or place for those. Instead, come prepared with a list of questions for the employee about what they need to their job well, the challenges they face, their goals, and most importantly what they expect from you as a manager. This is a time for you to listen, not to talk.
- Establish a reporting system with your superiors.
The best way to earn the trust of those above you is by making decisions every day that build on one another and create a reputation of competence. That won't happen on day one, but you can determine how you'll be keeping your superiors in the loop about any results, progress, or important updates for your team. Ask your direct supervisor the best way to keep upper management informed. If there is already system established, make sure you memorize it inside and out.
- Make a list of 3s.
You need to come at your new role with a new mindset. You're no longer an individual contributor. You have to think more about how your team fits into the company two to five years from now, not just what you have to do today. As you examine your department with new eyes, write down a list of 3 positive things about your division. Maybe you flawlessly follow up with customers or perhaps you all get along and there is no gossip or drama. Then write down 3 things that you know must change or improve in order for your department to survive.
You create a positive reputation by incrementally proving you can be trusted. Decisions you make every day build on one another and those decisions start on your first day as a manager.
Things may be a little trickier when you've been promoted to your new position and will be managing former peers. Read what our sister blog, Job Talk with Anita Clew, has to say in "Becoming the Boss: Advice for New Managers" (AnitaClew.com, 11/27/12).
Readers, what did you do on your first day as a manager?