Oct 14, 2011

Tips to Get Rid of the ‘New Manager’ Nervousness

Congratulations on your new job at Company XZY!

When you start on Monday morning, you will have a new manager and four direct reports. While you are excited about this new opportunity, you are also nervous. Very nervous. How will you make a good impression on both your manager and your staff? Will your staff like you? Will they respect you? Will you encounter resentment from a staff member who was not promoted into this role? These are all valid things to be nervous about. Here are a few things to do within the first week that will help make your transition into your new role a smooth one.

With your manager:
  • Ask for a copy of the organization chart for both the department and the company.
  • Find out which stakeholders need immediate attention. You will need to meet with them, identify and deal with their needs first. 
  • Find out what top three projects your manager wants you to work on – including timelines. Ask how these projects tie in to the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Find out how your manager likes to receive information, and how often. Details vs. high-level bullet points. Weekly vs. daily.
  • Find out what kind of response time your manager expects from you. 
  • Find out what kind of response time you can expect from your manager. 
  • Ask for a copy of the last two performance appraisals for each of your staff. This is a great way to get the history of what your staff has been working on, strengths, and developmental needs. It will also help you to identify who may be a flight risk. 

With your staff:
  • Schedule one-one-one meetings with your staff. (Hint: Read the performance appraisals before you meet with each staff member.) 
  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage and engage conversation, then, most importantly…LISTEN! 
 Need examples of open-ended questions? Here are a few to get you started:
  • What are you working on right now?
  • What types of projects do you enjoy working on?
  • You’ve been with this organization for ___ years. What keeps you coming back every day? 
  • What types of projects would you like to work on if the opportunity presents itself? 
  • What resources do you need to help you do your job?
  • What questions do you have for me? About my background or experience? 
Being nervous about working with a new manager and a new staff is normal. Remember there is always a learning curve. Doing these things within your first week will help you focus on how you can meet their needs and add value.

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