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Steps to Take When Assuming a New Management Position

September 25, 2014
Borderless Leadership

by Edward A. Kazemek

Steps to take when assuming a new management position

A question frequently directed to this column concerns how managers can ensure success when assuming new leadership positions. Whether one has been promoted to supervisor of patient accounts or has accepted the chief financial officer’s (CFO) position at a larger facility, the question is the same: “How can I hit the ground running and not stumble during the first six months to 12 months in my new position?”

While there are no guarantees for success, you can increase its likelihood by addressing seven basic points early on:

Determine the expectations of your superiors. Although it seems obvious, many professionals who assume new management positions fail to learn what is expected of them — in specific (measurable, when possible) terms. New managers tend to feel that they should know intuitively what is expected and that they may be perceived as lacking self-confidence if they ask questions. All managers, including the CFO of an institution, should know clearly what is expected by those who depend on them to perform. Without asking the simple question, “How will my performance be measured?” you run the risk of scoring points–but in the wrong game.

Clarify your management philosophy and values. New position anxiety is a two-way street. Those reporting to you have a right to know what kind of manager you are and what is most important to you. Sharing your management philosophy and professional beliefs is an effective and efficient way to break the ice with subordinates and begin the process of letting them know what you expect of them.

Assess the people reporting to you. Take the time to get a sense of your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Identify those members who are uncomfortable with your management philosophy or values. If these conflicts cannot be overcome, help them find alternate employment in your institution. Study past performance evaluations carefully and seek the opinions of your superiors and peers regarding individuals on your team. Once you have completed your assessment, let your strong people know that you consider them key members of your staff. Tell the weaker ones what they need to do to secure their positions.

Identify critical problems you have inherited. Some problems inherited with a new management position demand immediate action. Ideally, before you accept the new position, discover the critical problems. Then address them yourself or ask appropriate staff members to handle them. Inherited problems can shorten the “honeymoon period” for a new manager.

Set your agenda, both short term and long term. With you as the leader, ask your key staff to help identify long-term and short-term goals and strategies. You do not need to provide all of the ideas or answers concerning the best course of action for your department. But you must make certain that the agenda is developed, has your support, and is communicated to staff members assigned to implement it.

Revise structure, systems, and procedures as needed. Do not fall into the trap of reorganizing because you feel compelled to change for the sake of change. Keep in mind that form follows function, and restructure if you feel it will enhance your ability to accomplish your long-term and short-term agendas. Put current management systems and procedures to the same test. Do they contribute to the achievement of the agreed-upon goals and strategies? If not, change them.

Be open to suggestions and ideas. A person assuming a new management position must exercise self-control and resist doing all of the talking. Listening will be extremely valuable in the early months of your new position. Encourage employees to share their thoughts with you and invite them to challenge your ideas and plans. Often, the solution to a critical problem or the great idea you have been struggling to develop already exists–in the minds of your co-workers.

Assuming a new management position presents excitement and professional challenge. Your handling of the early months significantly affects your long-term success. By addressing these seven basic issues during the first year in the new position, your chances for success are heightened.

Source: Find Articles.com

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