Managing Performance / Setting Goals

101 Tasks Helping New Managers to Survive

Andrew Rondeau asked:

People often ask me for my thoughts on becoming a new Manager. My immediate reaction is ‘great, fantastic, go for it, it can be a great and diverse career move’, quickly followed by ‘Do you know what you are letting yourself in for?’

Many years ago, I moved from a technical role to my first management role. Suddenly I was managing a small team, being accountable for their deliveries / service and not just my own, as I was before!

Was I scared / fearful? You bet I was. I was scared of making a mistake, looking stupid, ruining my reputation and not being able to do the job I had just been promoted to. I couldn’t turn to anyone for help, could I. Well you can’t can you! You have just been promoted and you don’t say to your boss ‘Err, I’m not too sure what to do, err, can you help me?’

Don’t get me wrong, great managers will always support their staff to improve, but asking for help / support after just being promoted is a bit of a ’no-no’.

So what do you do? Public library? Internet? Book shops? There is a huge abundance of information available. Some good, some not so good.

Therefore, based on my 25 years as a manager, here are the top 101 tasks / activities you have to deal with and master some, now you are the new manager:

Know how to get on with your boss Who you should build relationships with How to build relationships Find out your teams services / deliverables What issues are your team experiencing What does your customer feedback say about your service Who are your main customers What are the priorities What are the strengths of each member of your new team What is the morale like within the team When did the team last celebrate for a good job being completed What do your new peers think of your team What does your manager expect from you What are the key measures in place to measure your service What is you 3 month / 12 month and 5 year plan Where is the company going Do your staff have individual / team / company objectives How well do you run meetings What meetings are required to manage your team / service How do you need to dress now, as the new manager What are your ambitions / goals Be flexible, courteous and persistent Take accountability for all your teams services / deliveries Ensure you give credit where credit is due, to your staff Take some risks Grow your network Ask lots of questions Believe in yourself How effective are the processes already in place – do they need changing What do your staff want fixed You are going to have to publicly speak – how good are you? What can you improve within your team Which of your services are highly thought of and which aren’t How do you manage your emails Do you have the support of your family / spouse (you may be working longer hours in the first few weeks) What are you going to do to relax / re-energise What is stressing you out and what are you going to do to rectify You must be super self-confident Get yourself a mentor What formal training would be beneficial for you How well do you know the companies products What tools do you need to be more efficient What customer feedback mechanisms are in place Get really efficient with your time management skills Stay fit – exercise Make sure your staff know what to expect from you Make sure your staff know what you expect from them Know the process for dealing with difficult staff Know the latest Personnel rules / guidelines i.e. Age Discrimination act Know how to say thank you Motivate your staff by praising and giving honest feedback Become assertive but not aggressive Ask your new team, what changes they would make to improve the service Remove small obstacles which are stopping your staff providing a great customer service Treat all your staff the same – no preferences for your friends Get on and do it – what ever it is – don’t suffer from procrastination Share new knowledge / ideas gained with your peers and boss Make your boss look great in public (and never do the opposite) Praise your staff in public Be a team player Read your staffs most recent performance review Never burn your bridges Book out an hour a day to give yourself time to think / plan Surround yourself with great supportive people Understand the teams finances Embrace and accept change If information is confidential, treat it that way Develop your staff Listen more than you talk Question things you don’t understand Go for a walk and think Know how to delegate – fast! Be optimistic about your performance Deal with distractions – fast Keep that work / life balance Use your initiative Be open to advice Gather as much information about the job you can Make sure you deliver your promises Hold one-to-one conversations with all your staff, whether they report to you directly or not Be comfortable with communicating the bad news as well as the good Get rid of any thoughts that, just because you are a manager, it gives you the authority and the power to do whatever you feel like Help your employees get rid of obstacles Remember, work is being judged by how well your team performs Put in place a continuous improvement plan Take time to understand the business in which you are operating Walk about and be seen Don’t pretend you know all the answers Don’t take all the credit yourself Don’t expect employees to be perfect Don’t ignore problems – identify and resolve them Create a sense of urgency Question past practices Identify and implement efficiencies Thoroughly research all sides of issues Make decisions – don’t waver Guide others who use your services Take initiative. See what needs to be done, and do it. Don’t wait for tasks to be assigned. Buy coffees / cakes for your staff to show you value them Roll up your sleeves and get your ‘hands dirty’ when necessary Have fun and laugh; don’t take things too seriously

So there you have them – 101 tasks / activities you will have to deal with now you are a Manager.

You will not be able to and won’t be expected to master them all. You will be expected to master a few. Use your natural strengths to decide which ones you are going to master and surround yourself with individuals who are masters in the ones you are not.

Then go and have a fantastic and rewarding career!

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