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Career Q&A | Minneapolis Star Tribune

Priority list an opportunity for a new manager

New managers can cultivate success with planning and honest assessments.

New managers can cultivate success with planning and honest assessments.

QI have to do a 10-minute presentation to my employer on what priorities I am going to address in my first three months as a manager. What should I say?

A: This is a perfect chance to develop your own vision for what you want to accomplish and build a stronger connection with your employer.

Look around you. Really look, paying attention to what is working in your team, where people are struggling, and what your collective strengths are.

Then think about where the team needs to be in six months or a year. When you took this job, what were you told about your employer's expectations for you and the team? What do you know, just from reading between the lines? If you were promoted from within the organization, you'll have some history to draw on. If you're new to the organization, ask around to get impressions on how the team contributes and how it fits into the bigger picture.

Assess your own strengths going into this role, and aspects of the role that you're less comfortable with. You'll need to plan carefully, particularly if the most pressing needs don't align with your greatest strengths. Use this to develop your own leadership style. Look back at your past managers, and notice what worked and what didn't. If you were to create a composite of an effective leader, what characteristics would you put together? Consider decisionmaking style, communication, conflict management, delegation — all of the aspects of leading a team — and bring them together into a model that fits your temperament.

Bring these insights together into an action plan.

Let's start with what to put in the plan. Start with an objective of listening to the team and understanding the current situation from their perspective. Even if you have a disaster to fix, you'll get more buy-in.

Target one item, maybe two items for concrete action. Focus on issues that you know are important to your boss. If you were hired to accomplish a large mission, provide a three-month plan, as requested, but also show how it contributes to the larger question.

As a third focus, include your plan for development as a leader. No need to dwell on this in your presentation, but tee up the conversation for future discussion.

Plan your presentation carefully; 10 minutes will go by in a flash. Put together talking points in a one-page document that your employer can keep for future reference. Be clear and specific, with timelines and resources needed. Anticipate questions, and be prepared to answer them.

Before you go in for this meeting, do some rehearsing and get calm and focused. Take five minutes to sit quietly, do some deep breathing and visualize the outcome of the meeting that you're hoping for.

After the meeting, follow up promptly with any action items, or documenting changes to your plan based on feedback you receive.

The more planning you can bring to your new role, the more likely you'll be to succeed. Take this chance to get a great start.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes.

Priority list an opportunity for a new manager 05/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:29pm]
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