Updated July 19th, 2023
Congratulations! Your bosses just promoted you as a manager, which means new responsibilities, challenges, and exciting opportunities are coming your way. As a first-time manager, it’s necessary to start on the right foot and gather all the essential tools for your new position; to help you navigate this transition smoothly, I have prepared the ultimate new manager checklist you need to survive your first week. Make sure to follow these steps, and you’ll be well-prepared to take on your new role and drive your team to success!
Take the time to fully understand your role and responsibilities, some ideas include reviewing the job description, approaching your boss, and asking questions to clarify any uncertainties. If you gain clarity in the expectations set for you, this will become a solid foundation for your development as a manager.
The crucial step you need to take as a vital point in your new manager checklist is to set up a one-on-one discussion around expectations and success with your manager. Ask your boss about specific deliverables and outcomes that they expect of you. A great question is: What does success look like in my role?
This one question will open up a world of discussion between you and your manager and create an honest and easy approach to any issues moving forward.
The second step in your new manager checklist is to schedule a “meet the team” meeting so you can begin developing rapport with every member. When your managers announce you as the new leader, your new team will look for safety indicators from you. How you approach this first meeting means everything to how well they adapt to you.
As a great first start, make sure the setting is right.
Only do this meeting with them being able to see your face. It should be done in person or via video conference if you are remote so that your team can see your facial expressions and you can see their reactions.
Here are a few things that you will want to discuss at this first meeting:
What makes you nervous about this first meeting? Comment below!
When change happens, people are naturally weary of the future.
Chatter will be around on the team anyways, perhaps with a narrative that isn’t accurate. Your job at this point is to pattern disrupt and add context about the transition and how it affects each member. Become empathetic and acknowledge that having a new boss is something that you understand might make them uncertain about the future.
Share your intentions and open the dialogue for concerns, questions, and doubts. Having this honest discussion from the beginning will help you build trust with each one. The truth is you are most likely walking into one of two situations:
Most managers lack training and, as a result, are ineffective. Your team will expect the same from you unless you show them you’re competent and credible from the beginning. Having a conversation like this will help them see how trustworthy you are.
Every once-in-awhile, there are managers out there that are a dream to work for. They’re inspiring and motivating, and their teams love and respect them. If you are replacing someone like this that has just moved on, it is equally as important to set yourself up as a credible leader.
Ensure that at the end of each 1:1 discussion, your new team member feels seen and heard by you.
In our New Manager Accelerator Program, we train first-time managers like you to prepare for their roles, overcome challenges, and succeed as leaders. Learn more about it here.
Be curious. A new manager changes things only after first understanding what they are changing. This is an important step in your new manager checklist.
Be prepared to sit on your hands figuratively speaking and just listen to what’s happening around you. Your observations during this first week will help you to make wise decisions down the road.
Also, feel free to seek guidance from experienced managers. Identifying a mentor who can provide valuable insights, share their experiences, and offer advice will accelerate your learning curve.
Document everything you are currently doing daily.
I want you to take note of the following:
The purpose of this step is so that when you transition your current job to someone else on the team, you have documentation so that training is not by memory and vague information.
Also, I want you to approach this first step as if next week, someone else would be sitting in your seat doing what you are currently doing, and you couldn’t talk to them. Ask yourself, what document would you want to hand them so they would be okay taking over your role?
Now chances are – right from the get-go – you will not be able to hand off everything you are doing. Transitioning from individual contributor to manager is rarely a light-switch moment. It’s going to take some time. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be planning for it.
Don’t wait until you have the green light or the official go. You want to start thinking about WHO on the team can transition into your role or if you will be spreading the work.
You want to start thinking about the following:
Ensure you document all these and communicate the timeline with others affected by this transition. The proper plan will get you to a safe destination and a smooth transition.
What other things would you add to your new manager checklist? Comment below!
If you’re still uncertain about what you should do as a first-time manager, check out our featured coaching program, The New Manager Accelerator, built with all the tools to ensure a smooth transition and journey in your role as a first-time manager. Don’t forget to download the free guide to becoming an effective leader and pin this article here to come back to it later!
August 18, 2020