Advice For The New Boss

What every new manager should say and do the first day on the job.

woman speaks to group at conference tableCountless articles, books, and videos exist on how to be a good manager and leader. Here I will try a more concrete approach. This is the talk I'd give my employees if I were a new manager or leader.

"I want to do everything I can to be a manager you'll respect and who facilitates your being your best selves. Perhaps you'll find it useful for me to briefly tell you my philosophy of management.

I believe in treating each of you, not equally, but fairly. You're all individuals and so you all have different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Some of you do better with lots of freedom, others with close supervision and accountability. Some prefer very specific instructions while others would consider that micromanagement. I'll try to flex to meet each of your needs---I want to create an environment that enables each of you to, as I said, be your best self.
To that end, I encourage you to let me know your strengths and weaknesses and how we might tweak your job so you can be your best self. I can't necessarily expect you to do that if I don't.

So let me tell you a few of my strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: I'm good at coming up with ideas and practical plans for implementing them, and addressing problems. I work hard--You'll see me here early and late and not taking lots of breaks. I try to have a sense of perspective--recognizing how important something is in the larger scheme of things. Weaknesses: I tend to be intense. I don't expect you to be as driven as I am. Just don't be intimidated my intensity. I'm harmless---unless you're lazy, hurtful, or dishonest. Another weakness is that I tend to interrupt. I know it's rude but I can't seem to make myself stop. I apologize in advance. It's nothing personal.

Most managers say they have an open-door policy and welcome questions, concerns, and suggestions, but not all managers really do. I really do. If there's bad news, I'd rather hear it early so there's time to address it. Sure, if it's a problem that will likely be solved without me, great, but if I need to know, please tell me. I'll respect you for that.

And yes, I appreciate self-starters---people who can get the job done without a lot of assistance--but I'd rather you ask for help than for you not to get the job done on time or to get it done but poorly. Talk to me.

To kick things off, I'm going to meet individually with each of you to hear your ideas, concerns, and advice for me in my new role.

Some of you may wonder how important our work is. After all, we're just a small cog in a very large wheel here at Amalgamated Distribution Inc. But when you stop to think about it, we ten people are responsible for ensuring that countless products get to stores so people can get the things they need for themselves and their families. Think of how you feel when you go to a store and the item you expect to be there isn't there. Our job is to make people happy and not disappointed. That's important and ethical work. We can go home to our families every night and feel proud of what we do.

And on that note, let me say that I'm pleased to be your manager, that I realize that a manager can make a big difference--positive or negative--in the lives of employees, that I take my responsibility to you as well as to the company seriously, and will do everything I can to earn your respect, to make this one of the company's most respected work groups, and to make this a place you'll look forward to coming to every morning. Onward and upward.

Dear reader, whether you're a new manager or a veteran, does this talk suggest any principles of leadership or even of living that you'd like to adopt?

READ OUR SLIDESHOW, "BEST AND WORST TV BOSSES"

Marty Nemko

Marty Nemko

Contributor

The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach." He also blogs for PsychologyToday.com and is in his 25th year as host of Work with Marty Nemko on KALW-FM (NPR-San Francisco.) His sixth and seventh books are: How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America. More than 2,000 of his published writings are free on www.martynemko.com.

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