Position Yourself for Success

You can maximize your performance as a new manager by using an action plan to guide your first 90-days in your new role. Remember that you’ll need to adapt your plans as you engage with others and learn more about the organization, leadership and staff. Understand your short and long-term goals and use this information to draft your action plan.

Your current job description and conversations with your supervisor can guide the development of your plan. You’ll need to learn about the culture and factor this into your plans. Learning about and adapting to the culture will be critical to your success. Knowing who your stakeholders are and including them in your action plan is equally important.

An action plan can help position you for effective long-term performance. Even though you should have already done your research prior to applying for this position ensure that you’ve taken enough time to thoroughly understand your organization’s goals, the market and your customers. Seek opportunities to partner with other managers to build your team and the department and proactively grow relationships within your department and throughout the organization. Build alliances both internally and externally.

Learn what it takes to inspire and motivate others and always remember that you are responsible for your professional development. One of the quickest and easiest tasks you can accomplish involves knowing how to conduct meetings. Running effective meetings positions the team for success. Use agendas, scheduling, meeting duration, information sharing and collecting input to help set expectations and guide the team’s performance.

Partner with Your Supervisor

Meet with your supervisor to discuss a 90-day action plan once your job description and goals have been confirmed. It’s best to have this conversation within the first week of assuming your new role. It’s easy to get busy learning and managing daily activities and neglect establishing expectations and planning for success. You may want to consider tackling projects or goals that help build cohesiveness of the team in the short term.

Picking ‘low hanging fruit’ and securing early wins can improve morale and communicate to the staff that you are invested in the success of the team.

Your Supervisor’s Communication Style

You also need to understand your supervisor’s communication style and preferences early on and decide how you will adapt your behavior to make communication with them efficient and effective. For example, understand the frequency that you’ll meet in person and how the meetings will flow. Use email to supplement the in person meetings and ensure communication is frequent enough without being burdensome. You and your supervisor may agree to use email subject lines with brief descriptions and FYI’s to assist you both.

Develop and Manage Staff

If this is your first supervisory role you need to get up to speed quickly while simultaneously managing staff. Learn your organization’s processes and understand the resources that are available to help you. This may involve your human resources department, on and off-site training and mentoring opportunities. Even if you’ve supervised staff in the past you should understand and plan to use the resources available to you in this new role. Build learning the processes and resources into your 90-day action plan. Learn about the staff’s performance individually and as a team as well as their history, challenges and successes. Also understand the reward and recognition systems. Work with your staff to set and communicate clear expectations for them and plan to guide their development with and without formal goals.

Staying engaged with employees and ensuring effective communication will help you frame performance based conversations. Ensure the goals you set with your staff are realistic, time-bound and within the employee’s reach. One of the worst things you can do is to set goals for your employees that are dependent upon others achieving their goals. Doing so can ruin your credibility with the employee. Numerous resources are available to help you learn how to set goals correctly. Take the time to learn about this process and approach goal setting confidently with your staff and supervisor. You cannot be a high performing leader if you do not know how to correctly set goals and motivate staff. Remember to recognize employees and take deliberate steps to create an environment that is productive and fun.

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