Your first 30 days as a manager can be overwhelming - but not to worry, this step by step guide will make everything more manageable (pardon the pun)!
You've just been promoted to manager. At first, it's amazing: it’s the results of all your hard work, its celebratory drinks and calling your family to let them know. But then, your first day comes and all that excitement turns to panic. You realise that while you understand in theory what a manager does, you have no idea how that translates into day to day tasks. Not to worry, because Piper has you sorted.
Unlike our other posts, this won’t be a theoretical piece on the importance of a certain management skill, but instead a step by step guide on how to survive your first 30 days. You won’t necessarily be the next Richard Branson when the month is up, but you will have your feet firmly planted under the table and a realistic idea of how to move forward.
Breathe and Take Stock
This is a lot of change. In fact, there is a strong chance that this is the biggest change in your career so far. And so, you need to take time to adjust. Don’t bound into action out of a place of panic; you’ll inevitably make mistakes and have an even harder time in your first six months. Instead, remember that no one is expecting you to change the company in your first 30 days. You likely don’t even have performance targets. So give yourself the time to adjust and relax into this new space before moving into step two.
Understand the new definition of success
Becoming a manager means your success doesn’t solely depend on you anymore. In some cases, you won't be doing any of your previous responsibilities and instead need to focus purely on mentorship. Speak to your manager about how they envision success in this role. It may be that for the first six months your sole responsibility is training new staff. Or, you may continue to be measured against previous metrics as well as the productivity of your team. It’s essential to understand what your manager is now expecting of you and how to prioritise your new responsibilities before setting a long term plan.
Meet every member of your team
As you know, the most important part of managing a team is the people. You can’t lead them to success if you don’t know them. And so, one of your earliest priorities should be to set up 1:1s with each employee. Ask your team about their favourite part of the job and what they’re struggling with. Ask what their favourite trait of a previous manager was. We have a whole blog post about 1:1s which you can find here but the essential thing is to meet the team.
A/N: This still applies if you already know your team members - perhaps you were colleagues before your promotion? It's important to set the new tone of your relationship and find answers to the questions above.
From your boss, your colleagues and employees to networking events, ask as many questions about the skill of management as you can. Examples can include “what is the one thing you’ve done to make yourself a better manager?” (to a colleague or at a networking event) or “in what situation have you felt most motivated in the past and what did a previous manager do to support that?” (to an employee). Questions are a way of expanding your appreciation of the topic and a way to garner knowledge. The most important thing is that you try to remember these answers and implement them.
If you can get a mentor
This final step is an optional added extra. It's not one of the things that are essential to your set up, but it can make your life easier. A mentor can be anyone - a previous manager, a peer who people manages, or someone a few rungs above you on the career ladder - it's simply someone you feel safe to turn to, to answer your questions and calm your nerves. Mentorship, if nothing else, can make you feel less alone.