Congratulations on assuming your new position at office! Did you write up your new manager checklist yet?
If you haven’t gotten around to it, not to worry. That’s what this post is for!
Being a new manager feels both amazing and terrifying at the same time. You’ve got added responsibilities and teams to lead. There are people counting on you. It’s one thing to be competent in your role, but quite another to nurture and empower others to remain so!
A new manager’s primary task is to tap into the team’s potential and make sure they deliver. This goes back to the delegation process steps one follows after identifying those projects that best utilize the workforce!
With an onboarding checklist you can structure your term around productivity. It can help you collect your thoughts, and compose yourself to take to your new role in style!
In this post, I’ll include a few handy pointers that helped me when I was a first-time manager, from one suit to another!
1. New manager onboarding checklist
What do all great checklists have in common? An idea of the goals you want to reach, and the plans and resources needed to get there. A new manager checklist should be crafted based on the following;
1.1 Identify your leadership style
What motivated you to rise to a managerial position? Was there a particular person who had an influence on you? A style of leadership that you responded to? Ask yourself these questions to identify your leadership style.
You could take a simple situational judgment quiz online to answer questions about yourself that give you insights into your personality. For example, are you more comfortable being closely involved in everything? How do you score team performance? Remember that no two leaders approach the same situation in the same way, so identifying what degree of authority you like to exert helps you establish your style of leading.
1.2 Research your company
There’s a difference between researching a company to impress at interviews, and then doing your research as someone associated with a firm. Once you’re a manager, you would assume to possess a strong understanding of what the company’s mission and vision are.
More importantly, how individuals should contribute to the larger goals set out. Immerse yourself in the background literature available about your company in terms of its products and services, customers, presence, reviews and competitors in the market you’re up against. This helps you identify potential situations where your managerial abilities will be exercised.
1.3 Establish presence and visibility
Waste no time in doing the introductions. Obtain email IDs and phone extensions of departmental managers and make the first move. By taking the initiative to meet and greet people, you’re sending the message that you’re open to interactions and getting to know the office better. You might even find a willing mentor and true friend amongst the crowd who can clue you in on processes and functions.
Do the same with the team you’re leading too. Introduce yourself in an email marked to the team. Depending on whether you’re collocated, distributed or working remotely, insert a time and a place for a quick orientation.
1.4 Set realistic self-expectations
Set realistic expectations for yourself, and for the team. Take external factors and internal dynamics into consideration when setting goals. One of the biggest mistakes a new manager makes is creating unrealistic expectations, some of which cannot be met. This creates doubt over one’s own ability and that of the team. Don’t get suckered into this whirlpool.
Instead, size up goals and share expected outcomes with your team so that they too are informed of what they need to do. This being said, do not be hard on yourself when things don’t always turn out the way you want them to. It’s okay not to be okay. The important thing is to recognize mistakes, take feedback in stride and to resolve to do better next time.
1.5 Seize educational opportunities
Nobody is too old to learn something new. And in a company, this knowledge can come from anywhere and anyone.
From a doorman to a junior associate, be open to suggestions and insights from the people you see and interact with on a daily basis. They can help you see things differently and introduce a fresh perspective, which can be educational on its own.
1.6 Improve your networking skills
You do not want to miss out on the hilarity and relatability of experiences recounted by other formerly first-time managers! By growing your professional network of contacts, you get tips for new managers.
The right circle of people can pass on tidbits of information, insights and resources that helped them as they moved up the corporate ladder. Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed or even online forums can introduce you to events keynote leaders often attend. In the future, you could make it to one of such events. Better still, be in the hot seat!
1.7 Learn by observation
The best lessons are through observation. Over time, you’ll pick up social cues and body language from the people you interact with. You’ll be able to observe how coworkers treat each other, and step in at the first signs of workplace conflict.
Ideally, everybody should be able to get along. In reality however, personality differences can adversely impact engagement and interest. Being observant can help you reinforce behavioral changes before it gets out of hand and affects the quality of work and professional progress.
1.8 Update your credentials
Recent credentials always stand out in a resume. Be open to learning and keep an eye and ear out for certifications and exams relevant to your line of work. Updating your credentials verifies your credibility.
It also gives you the confidence needed to lead, guide and support your people. As you advance in your role, newer credentials keep you informed of the means to keep your word, lend support and get the results promised.
2. 5 Tips for first-time managers
First-time managers should
2.1 Find a mentor to shadow
While tough decisions are still yours to make, it helps to have someone in your corner who can guide you based on their own experiential judgment.
Make the effort to engage with managers in your network who you look upto. If you feel intimidated by the prospect of approaching them for advice, remember that they too were once in your place. Finding a good mentor in the workplace can inspire you to be better and to do what’s right.
2.2 Delegate responsibly
As they say, respect can only be earned. And the way to do that is to balance delegation and showing your team that you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and work with them.
Rather than punt the boring bits to others while selecting interesting work for yourself, reassess the work to be done. Call up your team to hash out responsibilities by competence, deadlines, existing schedules and the present and future availability of staff and resources. Remember to credit everyone when work finishes on schedule and is upto the expectations.
2.3 Participate in watercooler conversations
Don’t be that manager who sits in his, or her cabin and comes out only to give instructions. Walk around the office.
If the office is remote, organize regular check-ins virtually as well as a channel for casual conversations in a remote collaboration tool. You may even hear something useful through the grapevine!
2.4 Contribute to departmental engagement initiatives
If there are passion projects of yours that your company actively participates in, such as sponsoring a greener earth or charity runs and fundraisers, now is the time to take a more active role in it.
Find out what your department cares about deeply outside of work, and try initiating programs internally to promote such causes. It will also involve your team members more closely.
2.5 Take time for self-care
Prioritize your work day such that you don’t need to take work home with you. Unplugging after a productive day helps you enjoy your personal time.
Indulge in self-care by doing the things that help you relax. It could be anything, from spa treatments, scrolling through social media or reading a few books on leadership and management. Anything that refreshes you!
3. What new managers should know?
The most important thing new managers should know, is that the example they set in a business context determines team unity. And in turn, professional development, of both themselves and the team they’re managing.
A new manager should exert authority and earn the respect of their peers without inviting resentment from individual team members. It’s not impossible if you keep the points in this new manager checklist in mind. You’ll be able to adapt your style of leading others by the situation you’re put in, and win your department over in no time!