It can be tough being a new Manager, especially in a new organisation, there are a lot of unknowns and a whole bunch of people you don’t know. Added to this is the fact that Managers have more work than ever, often focused on employee performance. So what’s the best way to go about settling in and getting to know the people and the organisation? You want to be liked but you know you need to be firm too.
You will have researched the organisation for your interview and will know a fair bit about it and your role, but when you start you will need to know a whole lot more. Listening will be a key activity for you, in order to learn as much as you can about the staff, the organisation and your role so aim to listen twice as much as you talk.
Secondly, be open and friendly. It’s great to get off to a good start and build up rapport with colleagues. Personally, I like to believe the best of people and see the best in them.
If you are managing a team, why not suggest a team lunch in your first few days in your new role? This can be a great ice-breaker and an informal way for you to get to know each other. It also shows that you are friendly and sociable and want to get to know them.
You also need to be flexible at this time. What does your Manager think is a priority for you in your new role? Go along with their suggestions at this time, trust that they know best. If you think of important things you should be doing as well, then run this by them saying why these are priorities for you. Be assertive if required.
If colleagues are questioning your experience and expertise be open with them and tell them about your past work, say that you would really appreciate their help to ‘get on board’ with the organisation and do a good job. Be open to any criticism, see if it rings true for you, and if so take it on as feedback and learn from it. If the criticism feels unjustified then say so. You and your colleagues are still getting to know each other after all.
My approach is to get to know the systems of a new workplace thoroughly before instigating any new ideas and changes. To do so too quickly seems disrespectful and even insensitive. Their systems have probably been working well, so at least do them the courtesy of seeing how they work before making changes.
Likewise, if you find that some of your ways of working are different to those of the people you are managing; hold back from making immediate changes, perhaps you can learn something from them! If you can see better ways of performing tasks introduce these sensitively, suggesting you trial some of them. Maintain respect for what others are already doing, and hopefully they will respect you in return.
In conclusion, be friendly, open, flexible, then introduce your own ideas gently as and when required. Build up a good rapport with new colleagues, and as you get to know them be firm when required. Ultimately, it’s great to be liked but more important to be respected as a Manager, so aim for this and if colleagues like you as well that’s a bonus.