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Help! I'm a New Manager...Now What?

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Help! I'm a New Manager...Now What?

By Michelle Yozzo Drake

You took control of your career and went for that promotion. After poring over your resume and surviving the interview process, you land the job!

Congratulations: you're a new manager.
Now what do you do?

Most new managers spend so much time focusing on getting the job that once they have it, they're at a loss as to where to start when they sit behind that new desk. Anxiousness sets in, and they're wondering, "Do I have what it takes to lead? Will my new team follow me and respect me? What if I don't have all the answers?"

Relax, new managers! It's common to be a little afraid when you first start a new job. There are a lot of unknowns, even when the promotion is within an organization that you're familiar with and with players that you already know. Suddenly you're going from being "one of the guys" to being The Boss. Scary stuff!

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As an executive coach and Communication Strategist, I have a whole system on how to build your team during those first days of a new job. One of the main things I focus on is how to communicate and lead people who you used to work with and now they report to you, and people who you may know very little about (if you're entering a high-level position in a new organization). Now I'd like to share a few of those tips with you.

First, start by taking your time. Learn and understand what your new role is. Do some digging on your predecessor: find out how they approached the work and their team, what was successful, and what failed. Be prepared by doing your homework!

If you're leading a brand new group of people that are strangers to you, make sure that you take the time to get to know each of the people on your team. Learn individual and team skills, strengths, weaknesses, and all of the projects that they're working on. This knowledge will help you determine if the team is using all of its resources effectively, if there are any holes in the skill sets, and if projects are maintaining the highest standards.

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Now, don't act too quickly with any changes! Stay in research mode until you are as familiar and comfortable with your team as they are with you. Ask your team what areas they would like some help with. Solicit their ideas for improvements, and then review those suggestions. If you begin with an approach of learning and discovery about the group's successes and issues, you won't feel pressure about knowing all of the answers immediately. Your job right now is to ask the questions so that you can bring your valuable perspective and approach to this new work environment.  

And don't forget: you wouldn't have been given this job if the organization didn't believe that you could make the improvements to take your group to the next level. Have faith in your abilities, learn about your players and the organization inside and out, and create a strategic plan to guarantee success for everyone.

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�Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.� � Helen Keller