You got the big job promotion – you are no longer one of the line workers, you are now part of management! Everything you have done in your career to this point has been to achieve this goal. Now what? All the staff has eyes on you and are expecting you to know what to do next. The truth is you didn’t think that far ahead – you were just wanting the promotion. No worries – you got this; however, what got you to this point won’t take to the next. You now need to start to think like a leader.
The first 90 days of your management experience is critical for laying the foundation of your strategy and your relationships. Some employees will want you to “charge in, take command, and change the previous culture” while other employees will “think it was fine before, why change anything.” Senior management is going to want to see that you can bring your “big ideas” to reality to grow the business. So how do you start? Below are three tips to keep in mind during the first 90 days in your role of Manager.
#1 Don’t make any changes for the first 90 days. This will be the hardest tip to accomplish, especially if you were promoted into management from a place you were working at. You have seen the good and the bad so you will want to make changes immediately. The best advice to follow is to not make any major changes for the first 90 days – deal with any immediately press items (safety, health, or well-being issues) but don’t implement any other changes at first. Be observant in the first 90 days, get to know the staff from a management perspective, and find out what senior management needs from you. For example, many times the process that the staff dislikes the most is something that management needs to have done but it was never communicated in that way. Be patient to find out if there are reasons for different policies or procedures that only management is privy to. Once this is done, you will be in a better position to know how to proceed in order to make it easier for the staff, provide more transparent communication and achieve the requested results from senior management.
#2 Learn to ask lots of questions. If you are new to the organization, this will come naturally. You will ask questions about how things are done, why things are done that way, if staff likes it. However, even if you have been promoted internal, it is recommended that you look at everything from an outsider’s point of view. Ask those same questions and engage the staff in sharing their opinions. You might find that the way you saw/experienced something is different from other staff members. Ask the same questions to senior management to determine if visions and perceptions align. Keep notes about these areas to determine future changes that might make things work smoother, build a better culture, increase profits and include them in your action plans for implementation.
#3 Exemplify the MBWA (Management by Walking Around) concept. Be where your employees are, be present, and observe. Take lunch breaks with your staff, go on coffee breaks with your staff to find out what makes them tick. Happy employees will always lead to happy customers and more profit. Find out if your staff is happy by taking the time to build trust and rapport with them. Now that you are in management, your staff is the way to success, so you need them more than they need you. Listen to their concerns and investigate if there are ways to implement their suggestions. This is the best way to build rapport and develop trust. Additionally, you will be able to use this information to build development training plans that are individually appropriate for your staff showing that you want them to succeed in the new future as well.
Now that you have gathered the data, you understand what management wants/needs, and you have developed trust with your team, you will be ready to create a strategic plan of action to achieve new levels of growth. Write up your plan of action and start slow. Involve your staff to build the concepts to ensure the greatest success and show senior management that you were the best choice for the position!