Just promoted to a people manager role, but not sure where to start? Take a deep breath, and then follow these steps.
Being a new manager often feels like drinking from a fire hose, because everything is coming at you so fast. Getting started is all about getting organized and learning about the most important aspects of the group or department, before making any hasty decisions.
Meet with your boss. You are now responsible for the productivity and results of your group, so you’ll need to gain a clear understanding about the team and your role. Things to find out: What do you and your team need to accomplish (goals and objectives) and by when (timing)? How will progress toward these goals and objectives be tracked and measured?
Meet with HR. This person might be called an HR representative or HR business partner. Meet with him or her to assess the people on your team. Learn as much as you can about each employee’s background (education, experience, skills) and his or her career development goals and aspirations. Who are the stars in the department? Have there been any personnel issues in the past?
Meet with finance. Conduct a deep dive into all of the department’s financials. Review each budget, so you gain an understanding of what is included, where the budget is at on a quarter-by-quarter and year-to-date basis, and what the forecast is for the rest of the year. Schedule monthly review meetings with your finance partner.
Meet with each person on your team (individually). Ask each employee to explain their role and walk you through their projects and key tasks as well as progress. Talk about expectations — preferably mutual expectations — and get any potential issues on the table, so you can address them now or in the future.
Meet with your team (as a group). Tell them about your background and include some fun, personal information about yourself, such as your love for snow skiing or how you’d like to someday run a marathon. Ask each person to share a little about himself or herself, and then encourage the team to ask questions about your background or leadership style.
Learn the processes and tools. Find out about all the processes and tools your team uses to accomplish their jobs. What is working well? What are the issues, and why? Are there any suggestions for improvement areas?
These six steps will provide you with a baseline understanding of the most important aspects of the team. That way, you’ll be in a much better position to move forward as the group’s leader.