…and what you should focus on first.
Back in 1992, I got promoted to Plant Manager of a Textile Mill – in charge of 120 people. Picture the scene: it’s Monday morning. I walk through the door as the new boss, introduce myself to the receptionist who leads me to my office. I open my briefcase (which contained my lunch box, pen and pad – it’s 1992 remember!), and my PA asks me if I want a cup of tea.
All 120 people were looking to me for leadership, direction, or at least a sense that I wasn’t going to fall flat on my face. Thankfully my instincts kicked in – I wrote a To Do list, introduced myself to the supervisors on the shop floor and asked about their biggest challenges. Phew. And this story has a happy ending because I got through that Monday unscathed – and many other Monday mornings were to follow.
But it was a little too ‘seat of my pants’ for my liking, So, if you find yourself promoted into a senior role here are some great pointers from Jeanne DeWitt, a former director at Google.
In the first 30 days good leaders:
‘Be as open and transparent about what you’re thinking as quickly as possible’
‘I make a rule that about 50 percent of the words coming out of my mouth should end with a question mark’’
Figure out what people really want to do:
‘Meet with all of your direct reports for at least an hour within your first week. Ask them about what they really enjoy doing and what they aspire to be doing’
Get their hands dirty.
‘Spend time doing the work that your team actually does. Not only does this help establish you as someone who leads by example, but you also learn first-hand about all of the different challenges that people experience every day’
‘Once you have a good lay of the land, explicitly lay out your vision and then plan to start moving toward it’
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you survived your first day in a senior role.