by Jim McCormick
author of The First-Time Manager
Access the training plan for new managers.
Most 90-day management plans focus on helping new managers connect with the resources and people they will need support from in order to carry out the tactical tasks associated with their role.
In the rush to show “real” progress, most managers try to come into a new organization with ideas, strategies, and plans that mean big changes for employees without considering the pre-existing team and individual dynamics.
Soft skills like building trust and confidence, active listening, and dealing with resistance are undervalued, but remain incredibly important to setting a solid foundation for achieving goals with your new team.
In our 30-60-90-day plan for first-time managers, we deliver a roadmap for starting your management career off on the right foot and with plenty of support from the both executive team and your subordinates.
This resource will prepare you to do so much more than get the lay of the land on your new team. It is designed to equip you with the skills to develop a strong relationship with your employees and hone your unique management style.
In this post, we will show you how to write your own 30-60-90-day plan based on your particular circumstances. But first, we want to show you how this plan works, as well as the outcomes it will lead you towards if you follow the plan correctly.
A 30-60-90-day plan doesn’t have to be a drawn out affair.
It can be a high-level overview of your objectives during your first 90 days as a new manager.
It can exist simply to give you direction as you navigate the early stages of your management journey and provide space for you to brainstorm how to accomplish your goals with the team you have.
Every month of the 3-part management training plan will have a different goal, but a similar structure for approaching it. Each worksheet in the template will prompt you to consider these elements:
Studies show that 40% of new managers don’t receive leadership training. It is very likely that you were promoted or hired on as a manager for the first time, but your organization didn’t have the resources, time, or ability to offer training to you. New managers benefit from a plan that educates them about the best way to introduce themselves to a new team, build productive relationships, and cope with the challenges that will come with their coveted position.
Building confidence is a gradual process. One of your main goals is to develop the trust and confidence of your employees, not only in their own abilities but in their opinion of you. They must have confidence that you are both competent and fair.
Here are a few action items to pursue in your first 30 days that will help your employees build confidence in you:
Confidence is built on success, so your job as a leader is to give them tasks at which they can succeed. Especially with new employees, assign them tasks they can master. Build in them the habit of being successful, starting small if needed, with smaller successes.
Without delegating any of your supervisory responsibilities, allow employees to have input into matters that affect them. A new task about to be performed in your area presents the opportunity to give your subordinates some input. Solicit ideas on how the new task might best be worked into the daily routine.
When you request input, you send the important message that you value your employees’ thoughts and ideas. You are also serving yourself well when you invite discussion. Your team members are likely closer to the situation than you are and may have insights that escaped you.
Active listening is one of the most valuable traits a new manager can demonstrate for two important reasons: First, if you do a great deal of active listening, you will not be thought of as a know-it-all, which is how most people perceive someone who talks too much. Second, by doing a lot of active listening and less talking, you’ll learn what is going on and gain insights and information you would miss if you were doing all the talking.
Implement the following listening habits into your daily conversations:
One of the most important aspects of a manager’s job is managing change effectively. Managing change includes accepting change and supporting it, understanding why your team members may be resistant to it, and finding ways to reduce that resistance. When you are able to do all three of these, you have mastered one of the most critical competencies of any manager.
When you become the new manager of a team, you will most likely face some degree of resistance, whether it be to your selection as their manager or to a decision you may make in the first days of your new role.
Here are some action items to pursue in your first 60 days that will help you reduce resistance from your employees:
- Jim McCormick, author of The First-Time Manager
Most of what seems stressful when you’re new in management will seem ordinary and even mundane after you’re experienced. This possibility reinforces the point that it may be your reaction and inexperience that causes you to consider it stress, rather than the situation itself.
How you react to stressful situations is part of your management style.
In the first 90 days of your new management role, practice reacting to the problem, not the stress.
7 Ways to Cope with Management Stress
To succeed as a manager, you must convert the fear of a stressful situation into the challenge of a stressful situation. If you are going to be a manager who periodically faces stressful situations, here are seven suggestions for you:
As you move up the corporate ladder, the problems become more complex, or so it seems. The important thing to remember is that your experience will remove most of the stress.
When you’ve been a manager for a while, you will not react the same way to the same situation as you did the first few months in your managerial career. It will get better. And you will be more capable.
Here is your 30-60-90-day template for managing a new team! Click the image below to download a blank copy.
Goal: Build trust and confidence.
Measure of Success: One-on-one meetings with every team member.
A one-on-one meeting with new reports allows you to accomplish the three major action steps for helping your team members build trust and confidence in you.
By meeting independently of the group, you can practice your listening skills as you learn about an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. As you figure out their strengths, you can identify tasks that will help you establish a pattern of success with that particular person.
Finally, a one-on-one meeting is an opportunity for an employee to speak into certain decisions related to their role and the larger department.
Note: One-on-one meetings aren’t the only way to measure your success during the first 30 days. Refer to the action plan below and think of other ways you might be able to complete those tasks outside of or in addition to a one-on-one meeting.
Goal: Become comfortable with managing change.
Measure of Success: Have one tough conversation with an employee.
Chances are that there will be some members of your team who aren’t happy to have a new manager. They’ll have a ton of questions, but they might also actively resist your presence.
A great measure of success for the goal of becoming comfortable with managing change is to commit to confronting your team head-on and addressing their concerns in whatever format makes the most sense for your situation.
Regardless of the format you choose to communicate change with your employees, always follow the steps below.
Goal: Cope with management stress.
Measure of Success: Recruit 2-3 people into your “support network.”
There are a variety of coping mechanisms you could choose to alleviate stress from managing people. For you, it could mean intentionally practicing 4x4 breathing when your workload becomes overwhelming or signing up for monthly appointments with a therapist.
Choose whatever methods work best for you, but make sure any measure you choose to benchmark your goal of coping with management stress aligns with the following action plan.