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New Manager? Five Things You Must Not Forget

May 1, 2020

Congrats! You are promoted, and it’s a responsibility jump…

Enjoy the feelings… it’s not every day one gets promoted to be a manager with a higher level of responsibilities. You are now talk of the office!

It’s tough to manage a team but rewarding too. The most valuable assets of an organization are its employees. Whatever be the monetary value of a company or tangible assets it possesses, employees’ quality and efficiency matter the most – to make or break a company’s worth and reputation.

Often, it is tough to manage a team effectively for a young manager – especially if you are promoted to the present position from one step below within the same office or project team. It is mostly because you find all of your peers (and some friends too) suddenly reporting to you! It is those people, with whom you may have shared the same canteen-table, had chit-chats together and had a light relationship quite for sometime – and all of a sudden you are now the boss for them! It’s a prize to your hard-work and success but some of your peers may find problem to digest the same.

This, although not the only one, but one of the most strong hindrances the newly promoted managers face immediately upon accepting the new level of responsibility. And it’s a logical one that you can easily understand by just imagining yourself in their place.

But the most important question is: “Where should I start?”

Most young managers- whether he is promoted from within the company or joins the team from outside – strive for a break at this point. I did, too. At this point of time our manager is a young person with good technical know-how, one of the best performers in that one-step-below role (that’s why he’s been promoted) and very much energetic. But at the same time, he is a first time manager. The lack of experience of managing holds him from starting out performing well.

But, you have no time to waste, dude. Board of Directors, top management, customers and other stakeholders are ready to pounce on you at your failure, and you are the person to answer those sharp claws. It’s better to start to take actions.

This is the time to study your team and work requirements. Let’s do it together to kick-start your new responsibility, let’s start taking actions.

Action-1: Understand the work requirement.

Obviously, you are acquainted with the type of work and already a part of it, otherwise you would have not been selected as the boss. But now that you are not at that one-step-below role, you must be clear about the end result first. If you do not have the answer what the company’s promoters expect from your team you are just nowhere, Mr. Boss! It is the time, be specific about that. If there is a clear written guideline in the form of a notice or letter or, preferably a budget, it’s cool. Otherwise, it’s totally okay to ask for a goal-setting meeting with your reporting line and understand from them what you are expected to achieve, in line with the vision and mission of the organization.

Action-2: Study your team well.

Now that you have the goal in front of you and a war in the form of a project is ahead. To fight this war you will need weapons, and, in your new responsibility area, your team members are your major weapons.

So, first you need to know about your team members well. If you were working in the same team and just got promoted from one-step-below, you perhaps know them. But now you have to look at them from a different perspective.

Give yourself some lone time to analyze their strength and weaknesses minutely and think whether they are actually fit for their current role. It is quite possible that they have the potential to do better if they are shifted from one role to another.

Action-3: Identify the key employees.

Look, this is utmost important.

Given that you are newly promoted your project team may not be a huge one, but you have other responsibilities too. Still if you can find out time to meet everybody in the team in person and spend time with them, it’s superb. But things do not go that way always. So it’s really vital to find out those people whom you can delegate the work-load so that you do not have any job to handle directly. But it cannot be everyone.

To find out the key employees what will help you mostly is the understanding your work nature properly. Past performance record also to be analyzed cautiously. Once you know it together what is the end target of the job and who are the people who will be delegated the work – you are almost done.

Action-4: Make them part of the game.

Yes, do it! They are already part of the game, but all you have to do is to make them understand that they are an indispensable one.

Don’t ever spell sentences like “Company will not stop for anyone” or “Achievement of the target will not be held if somebody leaves”.

Everybody knows that the company would not really stop if a particular employee leaves or do not work well. All we want to say that public depiction of these phrases will not do any good for you, rather it will demoralize the real good employees. Instead, if your employees can feel that you are paying importance to them, they will definitely do that extra lap for you even when not being asked.

But how to make them feel important? What’s the move?

The most important thing you can do is to ask for the action plan from them to provide.

What does that mean? Your subordinates will tell what you, or the project team, or the organization is going to do? Nah! It is you, the top man who will decide ‘what’ is to be done, but let your team tell ‘how’ to. Participation makes anybody feel that they are also indispensable parts of the project team and once they start to understand that their opinions matter – the pace of work is going to fly, for sure.

So it is. Tell them ‘what’ to do and not ‘how’ to. There is every possibility that they will come up with a unique idea which may make wonders.

A word of caution. After getting the action thoughts from your subordinates you must work as an editor. It is not all to accept, not everything to reject.

You are the best judge for the procedure to achieve the goal, let your expertise and wisdom decide what to keep and what not. After all, as the leader of the team you are responsible for all the bouquets or brick-bats, so the final decision must be yours.

After taking the final decision in your mind about ‘how to’ proceed once again discuss with the bunch of key persons from whom you have received the draft action plans. Let them understand which idea has been rejected (fully or partially) and why, and what is accepted on which merit. This will also be a learning session for them and they are expected to improve the next time.

Otherwise, if you just take the ideas from them and select some of your own out of those, and just inform what has been accepted & what’s not – it will make the whole thing useless. Discuss the final action plan with them and conclude the meeting with thanks to the contributors. The game is largely yours now.

Action-5: Know who the star performers are.

Because if you don’t know, they will leave you eventually. Star performers always deserve a better attention. You must know who they are, whether they are directly reporting to you or not. If you treat all employees the same, it will only demoralize the real performers and eventually their productivity will drop. Better to start identifying them from the day one of your new responsibility, and not to stop this identification process ever.

Happy Managing!

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