With fast paced moving companies, reporting lines often change due to realignment of departments, promotions or general business needs. Change creates natural trepidation but also hints at great possibilities. Reporting relationships take time to build from both a manager’s and a direct report’s perspectives. This week’s blog post is for a manager with a new direct report & next week’s will be for an employee who has a new manager.
For a Manager with a New Direct Report:
Getting to know your team is a big challenge. You want to create quick wins and not steamroll new reports with big changes right away. These tips will help you gain credibility and build trust.
- Listen first. Seek to understand procedures, strategies, organizational charts, and roles/responsibilities of your new team. As a new manager, you are likely eager to make your mark in your new role. First seek to understand why things are done a certain way before barging in with changes.
- Ask questions - understand what your team thinks works well, how processes align to goals, and ask what they would change. If your team agrees on priorities they are more likely to buy into such change.
- Create transparency – talk to your team about your goals/mandate and what you are trying to achieve so they can be part of the solution.
- Get to know your team – your people are your greatest asset to create quick wins in your new role. Potentially use a questionnaire that they fill out and then book time to review it together. It’s a way to have a little fun, get to know them professionally and start to build a personal relationship. I often use something called a management contract to start this (read here: http://bit.ly/gOr24X). You can ask things like: favourite coffee, morning or afternoon thinker, and then things like strengths, growth opportunities, personal goals, what they like in a manager, etc… Using this to facilitate a conversation can get you going on a great foot right away.
- Transition from past managers - If you are taking on an employee from another manager within the same organization, book time to do a proper transition. Ask them to share previous performance reviews and tips for management.
- Talk about your management style – just like you want to get to know your new team, they want to get to know their new manager. Talk about tips for working with you, the working environment you like to create and your plan for the team.
- Have regular team updates – book a bi-weekly or monthly meeting with your direct reports to discuss your findings, recommended changes & the team’s progress. This will help you create buy in and overall transparency and be viewed as a leader who is creating team work right from the get go!
For those who have recently moved into a new role managing a new team, what do you think about the above tips? What helped set off your new relationship for the better and what do you wish you had done differently?
Stay posted for next week's post on tips for employees with new managers.