Eight Things Managers Need to Do the First 90 Days on the Job
Gregory P. Smith
Congratulations you have just been promoted to supervisor. Now what do you do? Whether this is your first supervisory position or even if you are a seasoned manager, you should proceed with your transition carefully. It begins with a plan and proceeds one step at a time. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Identify the informal leaders-Informal leaders will make you or break you. Informal leaders are those who are not in formal positions of power or authority, but have the ability to influence actions and attitudes over those in your organization. Keep in mind that during your transition, they have more power than you do. Sometimes the informal leader has the respect of others . . .or on the other hand they are major irritants. Nonetheless, try to make them your allies so they don’t sabotage what you are trying to do. If you work in a unionized environment make sure you keep union officials informed and involved as much as possible.
Study past success-Discover what major accomplishments your group is proud of. A new leader will gain respect quicker when he or she recognizes and appreciates what the group has done in the past. By recognizing past accomplishments you will build a solid foundation for the future.
Delay making major decisions-Don’t allow yourself to be pressured in making major changes or big decisions too soon. If possible, take a low-key approach until you are ready. Gather information, see how things are done and get to know your people first before making major changes. Once you start gaining "acceptance," and begin to understand why they do what they do, then they will be more supportive and willing to support your decisions and style of leadership.
Do one on one interviews-In every leadership position I held I invested time in interviewing everyone I could—a time consuming process that paid dividends. This allows you to establish yourself quickly, gain respect, build trust faster and learn important information. During the interviews ask these questions:
-What can I do to help you accomplish your job?
-What is keeping you from doing your best?
-What makes you feel appreciated?
-What did my predecessor do that we should continue?
-What did my predecessor do that we should stop?
-Are you considering leaving this job for another? Why?
-What do you see as my role in this organization?
-What direction do you think we should go?
Start solving problems-With information gained from the interviews begin making changes. Start with improving productivity related issues affecting your group. This will show them you are serious about improving their work life further improving your reputation and credibility as a supervisor.
Conduct a meeting-Avoid having a meeting until you have something specific to say and enough background information to speak with authority. At the meeting highlight their past successes, some of the issues or problems affecting the group and what you plan on doing. Talk about some of the changes you are considering and why. Here are some other items to cover in this meeting:
• Your background and experience
• Just enough personal information to show you are human
• Your expectations
• Your pet peeves
• Your leadership style
• How they should approach you with problems
• What to do with new ideas and suggestions
Set Goals-Now that you have established yourself as reputable and knowledgeable it is time to set goals for the future. There are many ways to set goals, but the main thing is don’t do it in the dark. If you followed these steps goal setting will be a piece of cake. Involve your people as much as possible. Let them help you and your role as supervisor will be easier and more effective.