Blog Archive

New Manager's Fundamentals


By Junaid Tahir

Below are my notes from the lecture I attended recently about "New Manager's Fundamentals". The speaker elaborated that following aspects must be taken into account by all new managers or leaders if they want to sustain and succeed in their roles:

-          Chose Your Decision Making Style:  
o    Chose different approaches of decision making for different situations like deciding salaries, budget review and allocations, Promotions, routine work. Following are 3 categories of decision making.
1.     Autocratic: You make the decision at your own and then inform your team, if required. (Deciding Salaries, Budget allocations, Promotions etc)
2.     Collaborative: Seek input from your team and then make the decision. (Routine office tasks, Making WBS for the project etc)
3.     Democratic: Asking your teams to decide. (Asking team where to go for lunch, get together, small/medium impact official task etc)

-          Develop Professional Relationship (not friendly relationship):
o    Hobbies, interests, families come under friendship. Your 5% of discussion can be on such subjects just to show people that you are human but strictly note more than 5 minutes a day.
o    Build new relationships at Lunch, Coffee times and other breaks.
o    Learn about different people in your organization from LinkedIn and have chat on relevant subjects to make them comfortable with you.
o    Build Rapports (A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well)

-          Stay Visible:
o    Say hello to people around you; 5-10 minutes each day. Good relations result in good outcomes.
o    Ask people in a gentle way about what are they working on? How you can help them.
o    Tell them What you are working on? This improves the visibility about your work and help maintaining good professional relations.

-          Be concerned About Your Status Bubble As A Manager/Leader:
o    Be open with your team members, discuss your new role and elaborate your new responsibilities.  
o    Ask them that you want to know what they think about you as new boss

-          Communicate Proactively:
o    What you say is important but do consider how to say and when to say and when not to say.
o    One kg of prevention is better than 10kg of cure so stay ahead of challenges by being proactive.
o     When communicating, pause for a moment and ask "are you with me?"  At the end of discussion, ask a team member to summarize what you said.
o    Don't misjudge when you have a doubt about something your team member said.  Ask "can you clarify".
o    Consider Candor communication Vs Civility Communication approach. Both are important. Candor (Straight, blunt, candid). Civility (nice, positive, congenial)
o    Different communication approaches (Text, Email, Phone, Meeting) have different kind of trade of in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. Some approaches might be efficient to convey the message but may not be effective (SMS). Face to face is the best approach to consider as much as possible.
o    Want to send tough email? Draft it now, go for coffee or lunch, come back, read again with relaxed mind and then send.

-          Provide Effective Feedback:
o    Give right amount of feedback. Too little may not help a person. Too much criticism may not be digested by employee and may sound offensive. Consider what amount of feedback is required and then convey. Feed back is two way thing not one way. Make it a conversation. Ask him/her about his/her opinion.
o    Give feedback in person. Give feedback as quickly as possible so it sound relevant. Be respect. Avoid "You" and "I" words.

-          Conduct Relevant Meetings Only:
o    Don't call unnecessary meetings. Consider these situations to call  meeting:
1.     Important Team decisions
2.     Major Announcements (Changes in company strategy)
3.     Kick off Meeting. (Clarifying the initiative, expectations from teams, roles and responsibilities)
4.     Pre mortem and Post mortem (Discussing what might go wrong when project starts and when it goes live)
5.     A challenging situation on which feedback is required.
o    Call only relevant people (Experts, Affected and Sponsors)
o    Don't invite too many experts.  Don't invite sponsors (Leadership) every time. Don't invite political associates.

-          Use Authority Wisely:
o    Authority is your legitimate right to exercise influence and decision making.
o    If you want to make changes, start with the smaller ones.
o    Consider Pro-Employee changes (the one which employees are going to like – example, lunch timings flexible etc)
o    Consider Team culture (The shared attitude and behavior of the overall team). Consider buy-in from key employees prior to implementing a new decision.
-          Develop a Lieutenant:
o    Consider a person to work as second in command who can make decisions when you are away, attend meetings on your behalf etc . Make it informal  instead of formal position in the team.
o    He will give team's feedback for improvement.
o    He will be your personal devil's advocate. He will privately question your assumptions and challenge your thoughts for improvement.
o    He is 'not a yes man', not a conflict generator, not a political personality. He is trust worthy, hard working, visionary and thoughtful.

-          Enhance Your Outlook:
o    Look and behave like a leader. Spend time on enhancing your outlook. Right clothes, shoes, suit, hair style etc
o    No sudden change in outlook required. Avoid becoming a joke by immediate change in your personality. Slow transformation is recommended.

-          Defining Norms:
o    Define formal and informal norms for your team members. For example, we are Positive; we show respect; we are solution oriented; we are trust worthy and transparent etc.
o    These norms will become their habits if you repeat them in different meetings and other discussions.
While  attending this training I made my own Norms. These norms cover my major professional personality traits. Have a look below and then ponder what are your norms?
N- No negativity – All Positive
O- Open heart (Transparent)
R- Respectful – Strong mutual respect.
M- Micro and Macro Analyst
S- Solution Oriented

-          Some General Recommendations:
o    Convey the message to your teams with your actions that you trust them not be telling them. Your actions must portray what you believe in.
o    Share Credit. Acknowledge everyone's contribution.
o    Help others succeed. If they succeed you succeed.
o    Develop Empathy: The skill to understand and be sensitive to other emotions.
o    Project your confidence with your eye contact and through your  voice
o    Maintain your modesty. Be Humble


Some recommended articles:

Seven Super Qualities You Must Posses