A year ago I wrote about the Golden Rule for New Managers, which is basically, wait before you jump into action.
Assuming you’ve read that post (I’ll wait till you come back), the next most important thing you need to do is get your hands dirty.
By this I don’t mean that you should go and clean toilets to prove anything to your subordinates. After the “golden rule”, the second-most important thing you need to do is meet your team and let them teach you.
Wait, shouldn’t you be the one telling them what to do? Not yet.
If you start calling the shots from the get go you’ll most likely crash into Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Resistance is a natural reaction and also, people doesn’t like to be managed -at least according to Google’s CEO-; specially when the one who manages is a newcomer. That’s why making a good first impression will be the cornerstone of your administration.
First rule: watch and learn. Second rule: learn some more
To make a positive impact fast you must first learn what your team does and how each of their individual responsibilities connect with each others’. This will give you the “big picture” of how your team is assembled and what type of beast you will be managing.
Your boss or employees from other areas can brief you and give you a crash course of the company or what they need from you but in the end the bulk of your job will consist in you being the conduit for your teams’ work.
You are the one in charge of channeling your team’s energy and production in the same direction to then divert the flow to the different areas of your company.
Map your team
Now, get pen and paper and make a column under each of your subordinates’ names and write down what they do. After the meeting you can start linking people and tasks and see a “network” of how people and functions within your team interact. This will provide very useful when or if you decide to optimize processes, reorganize or reassign responsibilities.
Bonus Points: Enchant your team
If you want to walk the extra mile to make a good impression, ask your team members about the one duty they like the least and try to absorb that task yourself. On top of leading by example, there’s no better way of learning something than doing it yourself.
Make sure you give your team a disclaimer, though: down the line, as your workload increases and/or if you are not able to delegate the task to some other element of your team, he or she may have to go back to doing it. At least, you are giving them a break for some time.
- Don’t jump into action right away
- Learn your team members’ individual responsibilities
- Map your team, connect the dots
- Take a bullet for a team member within the first 2 weeks