How Do I Introduce Myself as a New Manager?

First, you learn the difference between “there” (a place) and “their” possessive plural.  If you lack written skills, it will be easy to lose the respect of others that have them.  In fact, it could become a joke that prevents anyone from respecting you unless you work in the mafia.  I say this because this question was sent to me in writing, and this is a pretty common error that says your English/ written skills are bad.  Written skills are critical. You must be concise, unambiguous, clear and more.

I just recently had a contractor set a Google Ads budget at a much higher rate than I had said to him in an email I sent. I thought that I was 100% clear, but his interpretation was a daily number now, instead of a total for today. Oops!  That mistake cost over $1,000 in extra ad spend before I even knew it happened.  So even with 30+ years of management experience, I am still making mistakes. I read more into the contractor's communications skills or experience than was deserved but either way it was my fault. That comes with the responsibility of being a manager. I should have been more clear.  I assumed some things that he did not. Like he would not think I wanted to 10X the budget in one day. 

The point is writing, especially with all the remote management today on Slack, Asana, IM and hundreds of other platforms, must be done really, really well. Thoughtfully, not rushed. And mistakes can cost thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. With management comes lots of responsibilities.

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There are many levels of learning in leadership. Supervisor, Manager, Executive and eventually even CEO. Each level typically requires five years of on-the-job learning.  The answer to the above question for each level would be quite different.  I'll address your basic manager, who is running a group of three to seven people here. But in any case, people will be looking for many things, and you MUST do to learn best practices in management and to respect your team. They will be looking for “Vision”, you know where the team should be going (can be 1 week or years out depending on the level of your people). Quality communications (oral and written) and specific goal setting (expectations), fairness and potentially technical expertise in your field.

I certainly recommend a sit down with the team right away. Not just on day #1, but hour #1 ideally.  Anxiety can be created in the team without this.  This is just common courtesy and appropriate to connect the faces with the names etc. Introduce yourself formally, tell the group a little about your relevant background communicate what you believe your main goals are (short, long or medium term will depend on the situation). And certainly, open it up for questions to show you are not a dictator and can be collaborative.  It is very important for people to know you want to hear what they think and have an "open door" policy.  You need open communications, honesty and idea flow in any department. 

This introduction meeting should be about 30 minutes and assumes a smaller group, under seven people. A larger group would be more formal and more time if you are being introduced to an entire department you will head. In that case, i would certainly meet with managers and supervisors fist. 

What any good employee will look for:

1. Credibility as a manager - This comes with experience and a track record. What have you accomplished before. Either speaking about or give them a backgrounder piece. I put everything in my LinkedIn profile. Why shouldn't you?  Are you hiding something?  Nothing breeds trust like full transparency. 

2. Integrity - People want to know they will be treated fairly and the same as others. Though the reality is, no two people are ever equal. 

3.  Domain knowledge - Many managers and project managers lack technical expertise in the field they are managing. This is less than ideal and will erode respect. Managers should understand the domain and technical areas they work in well. Not all the detail level, but at the design and conceptual levels. 

4. Expectations - This means communications, professionalism, performance and many more things and is too complex to get across in just an introduction. Hence, I always get one on one time with each individual and give them opportunity to talk, communicate issues and also interview me as their boss. This usually helps a lot as it sends the message they will not be treated as a number or a commodity. 

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5. Culture - What kind of workplace environment and culture do you want to project and cultivate. A few words on your process, style, meetings and "management cadence" can go a long way to making you look like a professional manager.  I would always lay out the Management By Objective (MBO or OKR) process I used that was invented by The Father of Management, Peter Drucker, and has been shown via research to increase value creation in an organization by 56%! It also creates a better culture - a meritocracy with strong communication. 

When a new manager comes in people are rightfully in fear for their job. They do not know what the new manager's expectations are. They could be much higher than the last manager.  Or lower. If the previous manager was fired there could be fear about the entire department going away - or any number of other rational, or irrational, fears. It is important to quell them right away. 

Respect is always earned, but must be assumed as a "benefit of the doubt" for superiors in an organization to start. This usually gives you some time to show your style and abilities. If you cannot do that, then you have no right being a manager anyway.

I have met many incompetent managers in my days. Either inexperienced or lacking the personality to be a good manager. Often with a Napoleon complex where they think the title and position alone means everyone must respect them and do what they say.  That is not really how good managers work.  Good managers earn respect every day and facilitate good culture, productivity, communications and focus on the right things at the right time. They are collaborative. 

Now I grant you in a very small company and team sometimes a "Benevolent Dictator" type of style is needed, but this should be shed by the time a company has more than six or seven people. And is only appropriate because you have lots of low experience people that need micromanagement. Senior people should never be treated that way. You want to lead people to their own conclusions to own the outcome, not just follow orders. 

Being a Dictator does not last and usually drives all the best employees out of the company too. 

Management by Objective (MBO) created by The Father of (modern) Management Peter Drucker is a foundational building block, really the blocking and tackling of management. Frankly, you will never become a good manager without having this discipline in some form to set people's tasks, priorities, expectations, and measurements of success. 

We have a full course on this here and I believe it is the very first thing a manager needs to master. 

Only experience teaches “art” and Management is an art. It typically takes 3–5 years for someone to master management, just like most complex skills and arts. Then another 3+ year to master managing managers (executive level skills). This can be accelerated with a good Coach.  People will give you lots of opportunity if you are honest, have integrity and treat them with respect.

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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.

Call (619) SCALE06 or email [email protected] for a complementary strategic consultation.


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