Stepping into a management position is exciting, because it gives you the opportunity to shape an organization's goals and the opportunity to lead a team towards achieving those goals. However, it can also be intimidating, especially if it's your first leadership position.
The actions you take on your first day as a manager can help set the tone for the future. Whether you're serving as a manager for a big company or your own small business, it's important to plan your debut carefully. This guide explains what to do to be successful on your first day as a manager and how to get off on the right foot as a first-time manager.
7 Steps for a Successful First Day as a New Manager
1. Do Your Research Beforehand
Start preparing for your new role before your first day. When joining a new company, touch base with the human resources team to get as much of the administrative paperwork done as possible in advance. Onboarding can be tedious and time-consuming and take you away from more important tasks—like getting to know your team.
Next, make sure you know the names and roles of your direct supervisors at your new company as well as any team members you'll be overseeing. If you're taking on a managerial role in your own small business, make sure you know each team member's name and general background.
Finally, if you're joining a company, ask HR in advance if there are any training programs offered to new managers that you can start slotting time for in your first week. If you're managing a team within your own small business, consider whether there is any additional education that can help you succeed as a leader, such as training courses to master management skills.
2. Write Out and Practice Your Elevator Pitch
As a manager, you'll be leading others. It's a good idea to take the time to introduce yourself, your values, and your vision for your team on the first day. Keep in mind your new workers will be apprehensive about getting a new boss. You want to reassure them and provide clarity.
Write out and practice a 30-second elevator pitch that you can share with your team and anyone else who asks. It should briefly cover your background, like education and career credentials. You can also talk about your plans for your new role. Practice your speech for a friend or family member, or in front of a mirror. You want to project confidence and a friendly attitude.
3. Show Up Early and Come Prepared
The night before your managerial debut, lay out a professional outfit. If you're joining a company, you may have gotten a sense of the office dress code during your interview process. If you're uncertain as to how formal or informal your new employer is, you can ask HR if there's a dress code you need to adhere to.
Even if the environment is more casual, it's best to be cautious and wear more formal business clothing. Remember, you're a manager now and you want to look the part. Slacks (or a skirt to the knee) and a button-down shirt or blouse are usually a safe bet. For more formal offices, men may also need to wear a tie and jacket.
On the big day, aim to show up 15 minutes early. This leaves time for potential delays in your commute. You want to be punctual and set a great example for your team. Bring any paperwork you need with you. Finally, put your phone on silent before you start the day. You want to be fully focused on making a good first impression as a manager.
4. Ask Questions
When joining another company, come prepared with questions on your first day. Asking queries shows your desire to learn and demonstrates your curiosity. Practice active listening and make sure to jot down answers as needed.
Further, come prepared with questions for your team members. Ask about their personal goals and career paths. If they've been with the company for some time, you can ask what improvements or changes they'd like to see. If you're acting as a manager for your own business, this kind of first-hand feedback from frontline workers can be especially useful.
5. Introduce Yourself to as Many People as Possible
Whether you're acting as a manager for a massive corporation or for your own small business, you want to connect with the people around you. From senior staff to junior employees, the more people you know, the better integrated you'll be in your surroundings.
On your first day, take the time to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Further, set aside time for building one-on-one rapport with individuals. For example, you might join another manager for lunch, and set up individual meetings with each member on your team. You might also set up an out-of-office get-together with your team to get to know them more personally.
These kinds of less formal interactions are valuable for managers because they allow you to get a sense of the social landscape in the office. Every workplace has unwritten (and, in some cases, unspoken) codes and rules of conduct that are hard to grasp as a newcomer. The more people you talk to, the sooner and better you'll understand these invisible laws.
6. Start Thinking About Goals for Yourself and Your Team
One of the toughest parts of shifting from a junior role to a manager-level role is changing your attitude. You will have to adjust your outlook and adopt a leadership mentality from the very start. Taking the lead on goal setting is one way to do this.
As you go through your first day, start thinking about goals for yourself and your team. What do you hope to change or accomplish? How can your team make a difference in the company as a whole? What individual goals might your team members have? Start jotting down ideas based on your observations over the first days.
After your first week, take the time to sit down with the relevant parties to talk about those objectives. For example, you might hold a team meeting and share your goals for the team, while you might discuss your goals as a manager with your superior. If you're running a small business, you might talk to your employees about your overall aims for the company.
7. Project a Positive Attitude
Avoid negative comments or criticism on your first day in your new job. You don't want to rub people the wrong way on day one. If you see problems that need fixing, as a good manager, you can address them later—once you have a better idea of how the company works and internal politics.
You can also help convey a positive attitude through your body language. Smile, offer a strong handshake, and practice good posture. Maintain high energy throughout the day, making it clear that you're ready to hit the ground running. Your first day of work is a great opportunity to show all the stakeholders you meet, from senior staff to your own employees, that you're ready to get your hands dirty.
While you want to project positivity, you don't want to look like you're trying too hard. Keep in mind that your first days in your new position are all about learning the ropes, not wowing the other people there. Follow the above tips to learn about your new environment and figure out how to best fit into it. You'll have time to impress everybody with your natural talents later.
Take Control of Your Finances With Skynova
As a manager, you will likely have to take on new responsibilities you didn't have to deal with in the past—such as budget oversight. Skynova makes it easy to track and manage expenses, invoices, and more with our simple accounting software. With your budgeting checked off your manager checklist, you'll have plenty of time for more important tasks, like leading your team towards greater success.
Find out more about how Skynova helps small business owners and managers.
Notice to the Reader
These are general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. Every workplace will have its own standards for managers. Further, when implementing accounting practices at a company, always consult with the relevant supervisors to ensure the system you want to use is approved. If you are adopting new accounting tools for your own business, consult a professional accountant to ensure you're meeting accounting standards.