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Hello Everyone :D ,

More than likely, many of you have been in the scenario described bellow. This is why i would like to start a discussion based on the subject: THE FIST TIME MANAGER - WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED

Scenario: After along time within the company you have been promoted to a management position.
What would you recommend to start with in order to achieve results from the beginning? What would be the right thing to start with? or is there smth like this?

What it takes start with stile?
Many tks,
:D

stephenbooth_uk's picture

The obvious would be what's covered in the Manager Tools basics podcasts: [url]http://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics/[/url]

Other than that a degree of self confidence tempered with some humility and the realisation that you aren't going to know it all on day one and you probably will need to occasionlly ask for guidance. So a good [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/05/building-a-network/]network[/url] wouldn't go amiss and having someone willing to [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/06/basics-of-mentoring-part-1-of-2/]me... [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/06/basics-of-mentoring-part-2-of-2/]yo... would help as well.

Personally, based on having seen a lot of people get it really wrong, I think the most important thing is to realise that if you're a manager then your job is to manage. If you are still working as an individual contributor then that is second place after your management duties, if you don't have time to manage because of the 'day job' (i.e. doing work) taking up so much time then (unless you boss tells you different) you've got it the wrong way around. You shouldn't have time to do the 'day job' because the management duties take up so much time. Delegate all you can and only take back what you absolutely have to. The people under you may not be able to do things quite as well or as quickly as you but so long as they can do it good enough and quick enough then that's fine. As a manager you add value through the work of the people under you; by leading them, inspiring them, driving them, keeping them doing the most valuable things they can do.

Probably the hard thing (at least the thing I've found hardest to get my head around, possibly due to the environment I'm working in) is the [url=http://www.manager-tools.com/2007/01/what-would-an-effective-manager-do/... koan[/url]. The idea that it can be OK for things to drop, not be done, is really difficult for me to reconcile with my experience.

Stephen

celianes's picture

Stephen,
First, many thanks for your answer! 8)
Networking+Mentor can help deliver the results.
What is the biggest challenge for the first time manager? Is there one? If yes, how is handled
Interesting challenge with the Juggling koan.

How did you got through?

juliahhavener's picture

I think the biggest challenge isn't the same for everyone.

For me, the biggest challenge has been getting away from being a technical resource for my team to make more room for the management of the people on my team.

The juggling koan also has been a Big One for me. Determining what's the most important thing to get done is often difficult. I've weighted O3s very heavily, and I feel that what I get back from those is immeasurable, but in my corporate culture they are not as valued as they could be. Demonstrating their value has become of high priority for me.

If I had to pick the One Thing that I think most people struggle with, [i]particularly young/inexperienced people[/i], I would say it's perception. Being able to see the long road is not something most of us do well in our 20s (forgive the broad generalization, it is based entirely on my experience). Knowing how your words and actions are perceived in your organization, how your directs and peers will see them, is powerful stuff. So much of professional life is affected by perceptions - and it's a very individual thing. Working beyond your own perceptions of the people around you and broadcasting the actions you want to see reflected can go a long ways towards overcoming common every day problems.

YMMV.

US41's picture

A new, first-time manager?

Some suggestions:

1. Don't gloat. Don't run around telling everyone about your promotion or asking them if they have heard. Let people come to you and congratulate you.

2. Be aware that the weakest possible starting point for a new manager is to be promoted to manage people who used to be your peers (insider promoted upward rather than outsider brought in) - and your position is even weaker if your predecessor was seen as a talent. Any change you plan needs to be done quietly, slowly, step by cautious step in such a case, as resistance will rise up that sounds like, "So-and-so never made us do that/let that happen/cared about that/put this much pressure on us."

3. Read a book by Theo Kaplow called "How to Manage Any Organization." It describes how to take over a team in detail. One of the author's major recommendations: Find where the money is, find out how much there is, find out what the budget is, and then seize it from whomever currently has it. Whoever has the money has the reins of the stagecoach and everyone else is a passenger.

4. Fire up O3's and feedback, but don't tell anyone this is what you are doing. Don't announce a departmental policy. In fact, as much as possible, avoid announcing any plans or policies to your staff as a group or in a distribution list email broadcast. Just start doing it. When challenged about how your predecessor didn't need this stuff, humbly concede that you need extra help to do as well as they did because this is such a great team and you don't want to rock the boat.

5. Find out everything you can about your directs. Know their DISC profile, and feed that profile the food that it eats. Reserved people want quiet recognition of competence - assertive people want public accolades, etc.

6. Make friends with your peers and find out what drives them as well. Be their friend. Try a book called The 360 Degree Manager and pay close attention to the advice about how to interact with your peers.

7. Read Drucker's Effective Executive and Practice of Management, and read them now. Take notes as you read them. Read the notes daily for months before you really "get it."

8. Establish performance objectives for your team which are measurable and time-based. Figure out a simple, low-maintenance way to track successes and then divide out the gaffes. Keep pie charts and bar charts of your team's performance. Know who your top performers are, and know who you would eliminate if asked to select a count of heads and contribute to layoffs.

9. Market your team's performance. Posters, broadcast emails, anything colorful, pretty, easy to read, simple, that gets your team's name out there and creates buzz.

10. Read the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene - not for personal strategy - but to understand the hidden agendas and manipulative scheming of those who might oppose your success due to jealousy or other unhealthy reasons.

That's what I would tell any new manager who was starting out for the first time if they asked me for a 10 Things I Should Do Right Away.

WillDuke's picture

There's some really great information here. Stephen, Julia, and US41 all make very good points, but that's not very surprising. :)

I think I would add what Mark & Mike say all the time "It's all about people." The reason One-on-One's are so important is to establish and maintain a relationship with your directs. Feedback is a tool that lets your directs know what they need to do to succeed. Coaching helps your directs grow into their next position. The management trinity, as M&M call it, is all about people, specifically your directs. When all of your directs are succeeding, odds are good that you have built a team and that team is succeeding. When your team is succeeding, you get credit as that team's manager.

If a manager forgets that, and thinks that they can make a difference on their own, they'll go down in flames. Unfortunately they'll probably take some of their directs out on the way down. And that's the true misery of a bad manager: how many lives they can negatively impact. This is why there are so many movies and TV shows about bad managers; and why managers are taking such a beating in the media.

Just think about what a manager is being entrusted with. In our society we spend a significant portion of our time at work. If we're happy and successful there it positively impacts our lives. I know I'm sounding a little evangelical here, but darn it I really do believe in the importance of management. I take it seriously. This is an important job and no manager should take their responsibility lightly.

juliakmiller's picture

I'm curious about why you wouldn't want to come out front with some basic things about things you really believe in up front. (I do realize that every group is different and you don't want to force one process on another team. But there are some basics like 03's that I just do.) I realize that talk is cheap and people will want actions. But I thought at my first staff meeting I'd give a 2 minute on my background, style like I'd answered in my interview but briefer, some things I'm going to do to get to know them including longer 03's with set questions (taken from "The First 90 Days" by Michael Watkins), strengths & weaknesses, etc.)

As a plug, I'm reading through that book and think it has some great suggestions I wished I'd used before. From past experience, I have found that a good impression that you provide value in the first 3 months is a real must. I like the idea of spending 30 days to learn, making a plan in the next 30 days, trying for a few focused wins by the end of 90 days, etc. It's too much to summarize and depends on the situation you are in. Just thinking about that there are 4 basic situations - startup, sustaining, turnaround & realignment - with different senses of urgency, etc.

I've been a manager for 8 years but grew those teams from the start. This is my first time taking on an existing team. I've got 17 people in 3 locations across North America, so I felt I wanted to do something to introduce myself to the people who report to me who I've never even met. (I am doing more than this with stopping by the people in the same location, quick calls to just say hi to the rest of my directs, etc.)

Julia

P.S. I really like #1 about letting people come to you. I've done that and it's been a great way to have conversations with people I wouldn't have thought cared or paid attention. The book references were great too!

stumax's picture

[quote="US41"]3. Read a book by Theo Kaplow called "How to Manage Any Organization." [/quote]

Sounds like a great book, but I can't find a book by that name or author on Amazon or Google. Where did you find it?

US41's picture

[quote="stumax"][quote="US41"]3. Read a book by Theo Kaplow called "How to Manage Any Organization." [/quote]

Sounds like a great book, but I can't find a book by that name or author on Amazon or Google. Where did you find it?[/quote]

Click this link

[url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0030149118?ie=UTF8&tag=shotokanplanet&l... to run any organization[/url]

It is only a quarter. :-)