Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Establishing your identity as a manager, part of New Manager Foundations (2013).
In the first month, your goal is to set the tone by focusing on three main activities. These are learning to look like a leader, developing professional relationships, and staying visible. Okay, let's talk about what it means to look like a leader. There's no correct look for a leader, what is correct is defined by the norms of your organization. Your goal is to seek to understand the prevailing dress code and grooming norms in your organization. Look at other managers and how they're presenting themselves. Your goal is to be reasonably close to those expectations.
One word of caution, try not to make drastic changes in your wardrobe now that you've been promoted. If you were wearing blue jeans one week ago and an expensive suit and tie this week, people might find that odd or somewhat inauthentic. Make small moves towards the norms you've identified. The goal is not to standout, but to fit in, in a manner that's appropriate given your new role and responsibilities. Next, I'd like to share an interesting idea. One that some feel is a little difficult. Your goal as the new boss is not to be friends with your employees; your goal is to develop positive and personal performance related relationships.
Friend relationships are all about personal bonds and interactions, friends very often find it difficult to deliver tough feedback because friend relationships don't have a performance component, and at work, in your new role as a leader, your biggest concern is performance. Of course, you should care about helping individuals grow and improve, but your overriding obligation is to the group, even more than any one individual. Here's the good news, productive professional relationships like friendships can and should be personal.
The difference is about proportion, friendships are dominated by personal exchanges, such as conversations about family members and hobbies. Professional relationships are dominated by performance related exchanges concerning the work at hand. For example, talking about who to hire and how to change your process. There's one final issue I'd like you to consider for your first month, it's the need to stay visible. Being visible means that most of the time, most of your employees see you or know where you are and what you're working on.
The higher your visibility, the more people will feel connected to you and experience motivation to accomplish their work successfully. True, the larger the group, the more difficult it becomes to remain visible. Having said that, work hard to allocate at least 5-10% of your day, everyday to informally chatting with your team. Don't schedule that time and don't call them into your office, take the initiative to walk around and find people where they work. Simply say hello, ask how things are going, and ask what, if anything, you can do to help, and don't forget, when you can't spend time with everyone, you can still connect using technology.
For example, you might use a weekly voicemail or an email blast to the entire team. This allows you to keep them in the loop. Highlight great work accomplishments within the team, and importantly, to celebrate significant personal events, such as weddings or graduations. Staying connected does not have to be massively time consuming or complex. Genuine conversations start while you're walking around. Simple weekly messages such as the one I just described can work wonders for team camaraderie and productivity. That's it, three smart ways to start your new role successfully, know what it means to look like a leader, spend time building and cultivating positive professional relationships, and remember to stay visible.
LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.