06/03/2014

By Helen Straw, founder and Managing Director at The Personnel Partnership,

So, you have a new job…you are going to be a manager for the very first time. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking and maybe you feel a little bit unsure of what you should actually do first?

Here are some top tips to help you through those first few weeks and months.

Your job role
Make sure that you are clear about your job role and what it entails. Speak to your boss about your objectives and make sure you understand them. Think about quick wins and some longer term achievements which you can make that will have an impact on the business.

Think about the key people you will be working with, ensure you meet with them; get to know them and their role and how it will impact on yours.

Be prepared to learn!

Communication
This skill is absolutely key to your success. Listen, listen, listen! (Then listen again). It is vitally important that you hear from others, first hand, what is happening, how things are done, what works, what doesn’t. This way, you can take everything on board and understand.

Listening is a key skill in the communication process, practice with your new team. Listen to their views; it will help you to understand what they feel, how they work, their views as a team etc.

One of your key tasks as a manager will be to give feedback, primarily to your team, so think about how you will do this. When giving feedback:

• Be as specific as possible
• Describe what you saw / heard etc.
• Stick to the facts
• Say what impact a person’s behaviour has had and why
• Be prepared to discuss your feedback
• Timing is key – seize the moment and do it at the right time


Take a step back
Absorb what is going on around you, soak it all up like a sponge. I know that you might feel like your feet haven't hit the ground, but 30 minutes or so to contemplate, what you know, what you have learned, what you need to do next will help to keep you focused and on the right path.

Take time out to see the bigger picture, it will help.

Meet your team
Get to know them as much as you can. Find out what makes them tick, what they like / don’t like, what challenges they face, how they interact with other team members and other staff.

Ensure that you understand their objectives! How are they performing? Carry out a review with them, assess where they are, if they are not making good progress, assess how you will work together to get them back on the right track. (Be careful not to do their job for them!)

Foster the right culture, encourage your team to come and seek your opinion, be clear and decisive.

Get to know the company
Seek out the key players, check out who is within your sphere of influence, how your role impacts on others. Get to know your clients, your peers and the Company Board or Senior Team.

Ensure you ask all the right questions during your induction, better to ask now whilst you are the newbie rather than asking the question six months in and eyebrows being raised!

What’s the company culture? What are the company values? Understand them and consider how you can ensure that the values are embedded in your team. How can you carry out the values in your everyday job role – this is the key to successful implementation of company values. They aren’t just a list of words hung up in a frame in the company reception. We need to think how they can be brought to life!

Finally…a new broom
…usually sweeps, however, don’t make change for change’s sake; no one will thank you for that. Identify if there are any problems, assess how you can make things better, seek opinion but don’t forget to have fun!

Helen Straw is the founder and managing director of The Personnel Partnership, based in West Yorkshire, which provides bespoke HR services on both an operational and strategic level for businesses nationwide.

For further details and advice contact Helen Straw at Helen@thepersonnelpartnership.co.uk