Submitted by Fitch on
I've been asked to act-up to manager of my team while the current manager is on special projects. It's being sold as a time-limited offer but who knows what will happen (I suspect it will become permanent).
I'm up to speed with the podcasts on new job etc, I'll be kicking in the trinity as per Mike and Mark's programme, but is there anything I'd find useful for the 'temporary nature' of this assignment?
What I'm talking about is, what is 'up for grabs' to change, or should i try and keep a steady course?
(nb What I basically want is to show I'm so damn good I get to keep the job :)
I recommend being judicious and respectful with your new found authority. This prevents bridges from being burnt and you thereby keep contingency groundwork just in case. It would probably be beneficial to emphasize O3's and other avenues that set the stage for your professional management style. It will be very beneficial for your reputation to give regular concise updates to your new boss. If it is brief, informative and touches all of the key issues it will earn their respect quickly. They will come to appreciate your style and potential for future opportunities.
I suggest keeping an outline close at hand which serve as your role framework and review this on your own at the end of each day. It is too easy to get caught up in minor issues which can consume your resources. The end of day review will help you self assess, keep your time investment on track, and most importantly help you get the most benefit out of this opportunity.
P.S. I like your attitude
Great question, Fitch
If you have not already, listen to the podcast "the first rule for new managers". March 23 2008.
If you have more questions after that, fire away :)
The old boss may return...
Make sure whatever you do, it's consistent with expecting that the old boss will in fact return and you will in fact go back to your old role. You never know.
Keep a steady course
Plan to keep a steady course for at least six months, if not a year.
You need to understand and fully appreciate your boss' role before chnaging things. In most organizations, full understanding takes a year (going once thorugh the budgeting, annual planning, employee appraisal cycle, etc).
One more reason to keep a steady course:
If your temporary assignment is to pinch-hit for your boss, then your boss will evaluate your success in terms of what he/she would have done. NOT how you've changed or "improved" things (quotations used because improvement is sometimes in the eye of the beholder...).
Go slow. Be patient. Shine in this role, and good things will likely follow.
There are always opportunities out there you can't see from where you're sitting now.
Do what you would normally
Do what you would normally do as a new manager: fitting in, one on ones, rolling out the trinity.
And do it all in the service of your previous boss's goals and objectives initially. After perhaps 6 months, you will probably have gotten enough feedback about what your boss and his/her boss thinks that you will know whether to continue as if it were YOUR team.
You may get pushback on one on ones. Be prepared for that, and queitly continue them, "in the service of trying to get to know everyone's WORK better, to insure effectiveness."
If you're going to make a change that you feel is bigger than what you're comfortable with in light of your acting status, yet you believe the business calls for it, ask your actual boss. Go to him/her and present a situation and recommendation, complete and detailed. Rather than asking what to do, ask him to agree with your plan.
Communicate weekly with your boss - short email with key points. Ask for guidance if you think it will help. You might think that monthlies would be easier, but they're not - they take longer because you can't remember stuff from 3 weeks ago.
Hope this helps, good luck, stay frosty.
Great Advice Thanks! But, I have a follow-up :)
Thanks Guys - this is all great advice - I especially like Peter's comment about keeping the reality check statement close at hand to review every day :)
A follow up question: This temporary assignment may be only for 3 months. Am I risking a lot by rolling out the trinity then back comes the boss (ps I'm aware this may happen, hope not, but am aware) and our styles differ so much I'm kind of alienated? (I recall an MT podcast which was very clear - your boss is the key to your success or failure - I don't want to upset the applecart on this). I can discuss it with him (already have in an outline way for my current role and he agrees to the plan) such that when he comes back he's comfortable with it, as suggested above, but our styles are pretty damn different....and will the team buy in as it's officially a temporary posting.
The current boss (who I'm replacing) has admitted he's not coping with the workload as it is. I'm fairly confident I can as I can see he's like I was about 3 years ago until I slapped myself around the face a bit (metaphorically) and realised you just don't do everything, it's just the really important stuff (maybe co-incidentally GTD and MT entered my life?? - thanks M&M!). Key to the change has to be a fundamental change in approach from what's just not working now. I'm sure the MT way will work, it's being cried out for, just will it mean I'm screwed when (if) he comes back?