New Manager Tip

November 14, 2010

As many of you know, I recently accepted a new management position with a great company.  It has been a very long time since I acquired a whole new team.  I’d spent so much time developing and nurturing my last team I wasn’t sure how to start all over.  I am a week in now and feel pretty good.  Half my team is based here in Tampa Bay the other have in Chicago.

The first week, I primarily listened and asked good questions.  Questions that helped clarify work flow, reporting structure, and protocols.  I listened and observed a lot.

Today, Monday, November 14th, I did something I think will be quite helpful to me and hopefully seen as positive by my team.  I sent my digital team a recurring request using Outlook.  The request will display as “free” in Calendar.  I asked if they would be so kind as to answer three questions for me at some point during their Monday.  I told them to be informal and not to spend more than 15 minutes on it.


1.  What 3 – 5 project activities do you plan to accomplish this week? [just looking for high level, not detail]

e.g.  finalize X project charter, add the additional pieces to the project framework requested by Kevin, complete all intro meetings with Joe Henson and his team

 2. Are there any challenges/obstacles I can help remove for you this week?

e.g.  Is there any way you could help expedite my Clarity access?  What can you do about getting activity B completed so I can start on activity C first thing tomorrow?

3.  Is there anything I am not doing that you wish I was doing or doing better? [please be candid, I can only improve my performance w/ feedback]


My goal with question #1  is to help understand what my team considers important to accomplish this week. As well as the obvious, “what are you doing?”  This should also help me when I am in meetings and I need to give an update on my team’s activities I will have a fresh and accurate status ready.  Once I get more time under my belt, I should also be able to gauge if an employee has too much going on or on the flip side too little.

With question #2, I want to be seen as someone who is here to help.  What can I do to make your work life smoother? If I get an obstacle that I am not certain how to remove, I will work with my growing, internal network to try and figure it out.  This will do a lot for my on boarding and will assist me in understanding protocol on how to get things done.

With question #3, I was a bit selfish.  I am looking for weekly feedback.  My plan is to use the feedback I obtain to improve myself and the value I add to my team.  I am also hoping to help my team feel comfortable giving their manager constructive criticism.  I want them to know they have a flexible manager who wants to grow and again add as much value to them as possible.

Through these 3 simple questions that I ask my team to answer when they have a free 15 minutes on Monday I hope to nurture my relationship with this new team as well as quickly get up to speed on workflow through my group.  If you’re a new manager of a team, try it.   Do you have any tips for new managers?  I’d love to hear them, I can use the help to grow my coaching ability.





Leave a Reply