- On June 5, 2014
Shauna has been a great individual contributor and is loved by her clients. She is looking for a new challenge and wants to progress in her field. A manager position just opened up and despite her anxiety over being inexperienced in management, she accepts the promotion.
Even if you are an experienced manager, moving into a new role can be overwhelming. Accept that you’ll feel like you’re being hit in the face with a fire hose of water every day for the first month or two.
So out of all the ‘learning’ (or reacting) experiences she’ll have in the first 30 days, what should Shauna really focus on?
The broad answer–COMMUNICATION. Setting good channels of communications from the get-go is the most important thing a new manager can do.
You’ll have a small window of opportunity to be in the ‘learning’ mode and catch a break. After those first few months, it is easy to fall into a dance pattern in your relationships that is very difficult to break out of, and accountability for knowing what to do—and producing results–ratchets up.
Who are you communicating with?
Your boss, other stakeholders, your team, your customers, and your peers and partners.
What should you be communicating about?
One thing that has to be clear right from the beginning is alignment of your responsibilities–What do you think your position is supposed to do…and what does your boss think your position is supposed to do?
What actions can you take to get clarification and alignment?
Write down the top 5 things you believe you should focus on in your manager role.
Now ask your boss (and stakeholders if these are important players in whether you succeed in the eyes of the company) to write done the top 5 things your position should be focused on.
This seems like a simple exercise, yet it is not unusual for these lists to differ significantly.
These are great points for discussion and clarification between you and your boss. Far better to have this conversation when you are learning the ropes of a new position than months later when you’re told you failed to meet expectations you didn’t even know about.
Why is this so important?
Without this conversation, you may focus your time on activities that are not viewed as most important to your boss and your company.
Repeat this exercise with other groups– your team, your customers, your partners and peers. You will gain an interesting 360-like perspective of what they expect this manager role to focus on, and have unique insight to use in discussions with your boss. This clarity exercise will familiarize you with the issues you’ll probably face so you can communicate about them effectively.