A new job is daunting enough, but when you have a couple of direct reports to manage for the first time ever, it is difficult to know where to start.
You don’t want to appear heavy handed, and how do you stamp your authority on people who know what they are doing and you don’t , and you are relying on them to guide you into the new role?
I find the easiest way to manage people is to work with them.
You are expected to ensure they achieve their goals, as well as your own. So you need to know how they are doing with their daily tasks.
So each morning spend a couple of minutes with each of them. Depending on circumstances, this can be fairly informal. Once you have switched your computer on and gone to get a cup of tea, stop at their desk on the way back to yours and ask what they have planned for the day.
Over a couple of days this will develop into a dialogue “Did you get that report you were working on yesterday finished”? “Shall I check it over for you”? “Can you copy me in on that please”? “And you will develop a feel for their role, duties, capabilities, and capacity for more or less work”.
You will be involved in their workload and can begin to manage by asking them to do things for you, resetting priorities, and scheduling tasks as you see fit.
Also take an interest in their personal lives, without being intrusive “anything nice planed for the weekend”? “How are the children”? “Did you enjoy your holiday”?
Over time you can establish a working relationship with a personal touch, sharing a few pieces of information about your social and personal life, while keeping the focus on the office and work.
Think about how you have been managed in the past-what did you like or dislike about your managers style? Adopt some of their practices.
Most companies will have job specifications or descriptions in place, and it is useful to review yours early on in the new role, to ensure you are covering everything. Ask for a copy of your direct reports job specifications too, so you can see what their responsibilities are and what you can expect them to be achieving.
More formally, part of your job as a manager is to ensure your staff achieve their goals, so it would be perfectly acceptable to ask your HR contact for a copy of your staffs’ performance review file, assuming your company have a formal procedure. You will need to see it at review time anyway, so checking it now means you can pick up where the previous manager left off in terms of actions required.
If there is not a formal review process, ask either HR or the staff member them self to discuss any goals or objectives that have been set for them and help them to achieve those targets.