New Manager Survival Guide: 3 Things To Do In Your First Week

by Ben Richardson
16th September 2019    
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Congratulations on your promotion to manager.

Now you need to make a success of your promotion, with a small group of people who will be looking to you for guidance and leadership.

After the usual first-day tasks of meeting your team (if you don’t already know them), learning everyone’s names and setting out your plans for the future of your team, the next obstacle is making a success of your first week as a new manager.

For more on how to make a success of your first day as a new manager see the first article in this series.

Don’t think that you won’t make mistakes. It’s a tough transition and making mistakes is pretty much guaranteed. Don’t let this put you off though. Every boss every has had to make the transition and most have learned how to be good managers.

Remember there is no shame in making a mistake so long as you learn from it. It’s only repeating mistakes that is an issue.

Don’t worry if you are open and honest your new team will be far more understanding than you think. They will see that it was an honest mistake, recognize it as such and forget about it.

Given that most people don’t receive any new manager training, let’s look at a few tips to make a success of your first week.

#1 Observe

Firstly, you will be surrounded by managers. Almost every organisation has a series of them.

Practice watching them and start to learn from them. Observe how they interact with their team.

Good or bad, you can learn from anyone. From some, you will learn what to do, and from others, you learn what not to do!

Secondly, keep an eye on your team. Learn how the different members of your team interact with each other. In order to lead well, you will need to try to understand your team members and what makes them tick. Hopefully, you will already have set up one-to-one meetings with them so that you can get to know them.

Really understanding them will take time but by getting into the habit of noting how they interact with each other you will begin to build up an understanding of how they work.

#2 Set An Example

Whether you like it or not you are now ‘in the spotlight’.

Your behaviour will be watched and noticed by your team so you need to think about the example that you are setting for them.

Whatever your personal style you need to start by getting the basics right. Leading by example is a great way to get people to start changing their behaviour.

If you’re not punctual you can’t expect them to be. So if at all possible try not to be late for a meeting and make people wait.

Ideally, you will be there 5 minutes early ready to go but don’t worry if you’re going to be late.

People understand that sometimes things happen which are beyond your control, just make sure to call ahead and let them know in good time.

This applies in all areas from dress and behaviour through to hitting goals and managing performance. Before you can expect your team to not gossip, you must make sure that you don’t involve yourself in gossip.

#3 Treat Everyone The Same

As a manager people need to be confident that you will be open and fair no matter who they are. They need to understand that you won’t have ‘favourites’ and will treat them all in the same way.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with your team or have lunch with them but make sure to be fair. If you go for lunch with some of the team make sure to have lunch with other members at other times. Perhaps even have a ‘rota’ so that you go for lunch with someone different in your team each week.

Many people are promoted to their managerial position within the teams that they were a part of before the promotion, and this can cause particular issues.

It isn’t unusual for someone else in your team to have wanted the promotion that you were given. Perhaps before you were promoted you used to socializing with some of your team but not all of them.

In this case, you need to be especially careful to be clear that you’re not favouring anyone over anyone else.

#4 Don’t Make Sudden, Unexpected Changes

Often new managers want to show their talent for management by making wholesale changes and ‘putting their stamp’ on their team.

If things are going wrong you may need to move fast but in general, this is the wrong approach, especially when you are still learning.

If you want your team to enjoy working for you they need to feel that you will listen to and understand their perspective before making a big decision. You won’t always agree with them but you will respect their opinion and seek it out.

If you feel that there are issues that need addressing you should speak to your team about it. Ask for their opinion and suggestions on the best way forward. Take a day or two to reflect and go back with more questions if you’re still not clear. If you don’t ask for their opinion you are telling them that you don’t value their opinion.

You will probably learn a huge amount and may well alter your decision slightly. You’ll also have a team that will be much more bought into you as a manager and your changes regardless of the decision that you ultimately take.

Line management is about getting the best from your team as a group. Learning how to seek clear feedback and opinions from your team will make your transition to line manager go much more smoothly.

This is part two of our three part series for new managers. You can find part one here and part three here.