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10 Things You Should do in Your First 90 Days as a New Manager

Just like a captain, you have the power to chart a course and lead your crew to success. Here are 10 things you should do in your first 90 days as a new manager.

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Just like a captain, you have the power to chart a course and lead your crew to success. Here are 10 things you should do in your first 90 days as a new manager.


Welcome aboard, new captain! As you take the helm of your team, you'll quickly realize that managing a team is much like sailing a ship. Just like a captain, you have the power to chart a course, navigate through rough waters, and lead your crew to success. But before you set sail, it's essential to make sure that your ship is seaworthy, and your crew is ready for the journey ahead.

In your first 90 days, you have the opportunity to be the shipbuilder that fortifies the hull, patches up any leaks, and ensures that all systems are running smoothly. You'll also need to build a strong and motivated crew that's ready to face any challenge that comes their way. Just like a ship needs a captain, your team needs a leader who can inspire, guide, and motivate them towards a common goal.

So hoist the sails and let's get started. In the next 90 days, you have the power to set a course for success and steer your team towards it. But it all starts with these 10 essential steps. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful and respected leader in your organization.


Understand the company culture

Every organization has its own unique culture. Understanding the company culture is crucial for any new manager, as it can affect the way you lead your team and the success of your projects. Here are some practical tips on how you can understand the company culture in your first 90 days as a new manager:

Observe and listen — Take the time to observe how people interact with each other, their body language, and the tone of their conversations. Listen to how they talk about the company, its values, and its goals.

Ask questions —  Ask your colleagues and superiors about the company culture. What are the norms and expectations? What are the values and mission of the company?

Read company policies and materials —  Check out the company's handbook, policies for employees, and mission statement to learn more about the company's culture.

Attend company events —  Attend company events such as team-building activities, social gatherings, and meetings. This will give you an opportunity to meet your colleagues and learn more about the company culture.

Seek out mentors —  Identify people within the organization who can serve as mentors and guide you through the company culture. They can provide valuable insights and tips on how to navigate the organization.

Look for signs of culture — Look for visual cues such as how people dress, the office layout, and the decor. These can provide clues about the company culture.

Embrace diversity —  Be open to and respectful of diversity within the organization. Learn about different perspectives and ways of doing things.

Identify culture champions —  Look for individuals who embody the company culture and are respected by their colleagues. They can be examples to follow and give advice on how to do well in the organization.


Identify your goals

Setting goals as a new manager is crucial for success in the role. Here are some evidence-based steps to help you identify your goals in your first 90 days:

Conduct a needs assessment —   Conduct a needs assessment to identify the areas of your team or organization that need improvement. For instance, if you have just joined a sales team, you may discover that the team is struggling with lead generation or closing deals. To address these issues, you may set goals to increase the number of leads generated or improve the team's sales conversion rate.

Set SMART goals —  Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals that align with the company's mission and vision. This will help you track progress and make adjustments as needed.

Involve your team —  Involve your team in goal-setting to foster a sense of ownership and commitment. This can increase employee engagement and motivation, leading to better performance.

For example, as a new HR manager, you can involve your team in setting a goal to reduce employee turnover by 20% in the first 90 days by conducting exit interviews and implementing employee retention programs.

Prioritize goals — Prioritize your goals based on their importance and urgency. This will help you focus your efforts and make the most significant impact in your first 90 days.


Build relationships

Building relationships lets you gain your team's trust and respect, learn about their strengths and weaknesses, and spot areas where they can improve. Here are some tips for building relationships as a new manager:

Listen actively —  Listen to your team members' concerns, ideas, and feedback. Actively engage in conversations by asking open-ended questions and showing interest in their responses. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, active listening can lead to better relationships and increased trust. You can schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member to discuss their role, goals, and challenges. Encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas and take notes to demonstrate your active listening.

Learn about their work —  Show interest in their work and ask for their input on how to improve processes. Ask team members to walk you through their workflow and identify areas where they think improvements could be made.

Build trust — Build trust by being honest, transparent, and following through on your commitments. Research shows that trust leads to better communication, increased motivation, and improved job satisfaction. Be transparent about your management style and decision-making process. Set clear expectations for team members and follow through on your commitments.

Celebrate successes — Celebrating team successes increases team morale and motivation, leading to better relationships and productivity. When a team member achieves a goal or milestone, publicly recognize their accomplishments. This can be through a team meeting or a personal note.


Use multiple channels for effective communication

Effective communication requires using a variety of channels to ensure that your message reaches all team members. Choose the most appropriate channel for the message and the audience, whether it's email, in-person meetings, or a team messaging app. Below are some ways to use multiple channels:

Use face-to-face communication — This is the most powerful form of communication. Use it to build relationships, clarify expectations, and address any concerns or issues.

Utilize email — Email can be an efficient way to communicate routine updates or share information that requires a written record. However, be mindful of tone and clarity.

Make use of instant messaging —  Instant messaging platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams can be an effective way to communicate with your team in real time, especially when you need to address urgent issues.

Conduct virtual meetings —  With the rise of remote work, virtual meetings have become a necessary communication tool. Use video conferencing software to hold team meetings, check-ins, or one-on-one sessions with team members.

Use social media —  Social media can be a powerful tool for communication and engagement, especially if your team or organization has a presence on platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter.


Be open to feedback

It's natural to want to make a strong impression and set the stage for success. However, one of the most critical factors in achieving this is being open to feedback. Feedback can help you find blind spots, see where you need to improve, and become a better leader overall. Here are some tips to help you be more open to feedback and become a better manager.

Solicit feedback —  Don't wait for feedback to come to you. Actively seek it out by asking for input from your team, peers, and superiors. Make it clear that you're open to feedback and that you value their input.

Listen actively — When you receive feedback, listen attentively without interrupting or becoming defensive. Try to understand the other person's perspective and ask questions for clarification if needed.

Thank the giver —  Acknowledge the person for providing feedback, even if it's difficult to hear. Thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts and ideas.

Reflect on the feedback —  Take some time to reflect on the feedback you've received. Consider the validity of the feedback and how you can use it to improve your performance as a manager.

Take action —  After reflecting on the feedback, take action on the areas that require improvement. Let the person who gave the feedback know that you're taking action and appreciate their input.


Establish boundaries

Boundaries are the cornerstone of a healthy work environment. They are about defining expectations and creating a sense of structure that helps both you and your team thrive. However, establishing boundaries can be a challenge, especially in the first 90 days of your tenure. Here are some tips to help you establish boundaries:

Define your role — Clearly define your role and responsibilities to yourself and your team. Be clear on what you can and cannot do, and make sure your team understands the boundaries of your role.

Set expectations — Set clear expectations for your team in terms of their roles and responsibilities, deadlines, and performance metrics. Communicate your expectations clearly and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Prioritize your time —  Time management is crucial for any manager. Prioritize your tasks and schedule your time to ensure you have enough time to focus on your priorities.

Practice self-care —  It's essential to take care of your physical and mental health. Set boundaries for your work hours, take breaks when needed, and avoid taking on too much work.


Focus on results

It's important to hit the ground running and show your team that you're committed to achieving results as soon as you take on your new role. By focusing on results, you'll establish yourself as a results-driven leader and set the tone for a productive and successful team. Here’s how:

Set clear goals —  Work with your team to set clear, measurable goals that align with your organization's mission and values. Make sure everyone understands the goals and the metrics for success.

Prioritize tasks —  Identify the tasks that are most critical to achieving your goals and focus on those first. Use tools like prioritization matrices and to-do lists to stay on track.

Communicate expectations —  Communicate your expectations clearly to your team, and make sure everyone understands what they need to do to achieve the desired results.

Hold yourself and your team accountable —  Use regular check-ins and progress reports to track your progress and adjust your approach as needed.


Invest in training and development 

Since the job market is always changing, it's important to make sure your team is always learning and growing. It not only helps your team improve their skills and knowledge but also increases their engagement and motivation. Here are tips to help you invest in training and development as a new manager:

Assess your team's skills —  Conduct a skills assessment to identify any gaps in your team's skills and knowledge. Use this information to develop a training plan that addresses these gaps.

Identify training resources —  Identify training resources that are relevant and accessible to your team, such as online courses, industry conferences, and in-house training programs.

Encourage ongoing learning —  Encourage your team to pursue ongoing learning and development opportunities outside of formal training programs, such as reading industry publications or attending webinars.

Provide feedback and support —  Provide ongoing feedback and support to your team to help them apply their new skills and knowledge on the job.


Learn from your mistakes 

While mistakes can be frustrating, they also present an opportunity for growth and development. Instead of beating yourself up, use these experiences as an opportunity to learn and grow. By taking a proactive approach and learning from your mistakes, you can become a more effective leader and set your team up for success. Here’s how to get started:

Reflect on what went wrong — Take some time to reflect on what went wrong and why. Ask yourself what you could have done differently to avoid the mistake.

Take responsibility —  Take responsibility for your mistakes and be accountable for your actions. Don't blame others or make excuses.

Develop a plan of action —  Develop a plan of action to address the mistake and prevent it from happening again. This could include training, process improvements, or changes to your management approach.

Move forward —  Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Once you've learned from your mistake, it's time to move forward. Don't dwell on it or beat yourself up. Use the experience to grow and become a better manager.


Stay curious

Staying curious allows you to stay engaged, learn new things, and remain open to new ideas and perspectives. By doing so, you'll be able to adapt to new challenges, learn from your team members, and continuously improve as a leader. Here are some tips to help you stay curious in your first 90 days as a new manager:

Ask questions —  Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek out information. Curiosity often starts with a willingness to explore and discover new things.

Be open to new ideas —  Stay open-minded and receptive to new ideas and perspectives. This will help you learn and grow as a manager.

Embrace challenges —  Embrace challenges and view them as an opportunity to learn and grow. This mindset will help you stay engaged and curious.

Network with others —  Network with other managers and industry professionals. This will help you stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.

Learn from your team —  Your team members have valuable insights and perspectives. Take the time to listen to their ideas and learn from their experiences.

As you sail into the future, keep in mind that being a successful captain requires a constant focus on your ship and crew. You must remain vigilant to any potential obstacles or hazards, and be ready to adapt to changing conditions. Just like a ship that is well-maintained and well-led can weather any storm, a team that is supported and empowered can overcome any challenge.

So keep your compass pointed towards your goals, and trust in your crew to help you navigate through rough waters. With these 10 essential steps in your arsenal, you're well on your way to becoming a successful captain in your organization. Now, set sail with confidence and steer your team towards a bright and successful future.

Written by

Bret Leon Asugo

Bret Leon Asugo is a creative content writer with industry expertise in ghostwriting, copywriting, guest posting, and corporate blogging. He works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing content that is optimized for search engine rankings and gains social media traction. A writer by day and reader by night, he believes that everything has been said. But nobody has said it with your voice.

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