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Greetings!

Forgive me if this scenario has already been addressed; I've found it quite difficult to search through the forums. If there are good references (either posts or podcasts), I'd sure appreciate being linked to them!

I'm a product manager (IC) in my role at my current company for just shy of three months (though I've PM for a good number of years now at other companies). In my initial one-on-ones with my manager, I expressed my interest in being a people-manager (of other PMs), and he was enthusiastic in supporting my development.

On Monday, July 17, we have a new college grad joining as a PM (essentially into the same role that I've had), and my manager has arranged for me to formally be his manager.

My essential question is as follows: Because I am a new manager and because this is a new team with new employees being formed, what rollout principles apply?

I understand that for managers who want to start things like feedback, delegation, and coaching with existing teams, it's a good idea to introduce things in a more iterative way, but when someone is newly coming into an organization and when I have an opportunity to set all the tools as a default right out of the gate, are there any particular downsides? For example, can I start with both positive and negative feedback right away? (I expect it will mostly be positive, anyway.) I'll definitely be starting with one-on-ones in the first week, but are there other tools I should wait before rolling out? Which ones and why?

For context, I've been a long-time enthusiast of Manager Tools, having listed to the Basics series a few years ago. In anticipation of transitioning into a management role, I've started listening to all the podcasts form the beginning, and I'm almost through September 2007 (so less than 10 years of podcasts left!). I'm eager to put everything I'm learning into practice, but of course, I want to make sure to do the effective thing.

Thanks in advance for your help!

music_marketer's picture

Hey Arthur, Congrats on getting the role upgrade and you'll go far applying MT thinking. 

The guidance in the following casts is applicable to any "new" manager. I use quotes because I mean any manager who has a new direct report or a new team. I would definitely caution rolling out everything at once. It'll be overwhelming for you and the direct report.

Anyways, have a listen to these casts. I hope they will shed some light better than I can.

Rolling out Trinity (this is a series)
https://www.manager-tools.com/2008/08/rolling-out-the-manager-tools-trin...

New Direct - Frist Meeting
https://www.manager-tools.com/2011/12/new-direct-first-day-meeting-500th...

First Meeting New Direct Series
https://www.manager-tools.com/2015/07/first-meeting-new-direct-series-te...

ArthurZey's picture

Hi @music_marketer:

Please forgive the lateness of my reply.

Thank you for your message! I'd already listened to some of those casts (as I'm going through them all in order on 2x speed during my commutes!), and so I had a fairly good feel for the basics.

As I've listened to a few more, I think the rollout has made more sense to me, especially for my specific context. (There were also a few podcasts that explicitly mentioned my situation that I listened to after I made this initial post.)

I've found that my direct is very receptive and desirous of adjusting feedback, and while I've tried to skew toward only positive, I've found opportunities to give him guidance for improvement. Even though it's *technically* violating the rollout rules, I think it's within the spirit of them, and it's been effective.

Indeed, I actually experimented with phrasing some "feedback" in a typical, non-MT way, and I while my direct wasn't exactly pushing back, he wasn't really getting what he could do better. I realized I immediately needed to focus on behavior and consequences and deliver feedback, not "feedback". The moment I said "When you don't speak up in meetings you're running, here's what happens...", it's like a light bulb went off in his head, and he totally got it. In the next meeting he was running, he not only spoke up, but he openly contradicted my viewpoints, which he knew I held strongly.

I took particular pleasure in giving him more feedback about that: "When you openly contradict me in meetings, knowing how strongly I hold the opposite view...", and he thought I was going to tell him that he had done wrong, but instead, I told him "that contributes to a robust discussion and in general, helps us all to reach the best conclusion, even if in this instance, I think we're going the wrong way. Keep up the good work.".

I still struggle with finding/identifying opportunities for feedback, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

Thanks again!