What advice do you have for a brand new manager?
I am going to be managing a home oil delivery trucking fleet very soon and I am looking for any advice you have to share with a first time manger. I am open to books or websites with resources that I can read to help me be successful in my new role. Thank you!
Skip the books...read complaint reports and go visit customers.
One of the most important things to know from your customers is: "Would you recommend us to your friends & family?" and, if not, "Why?"
Don't use surveys for this - do the research in person. If you do use surveys (shame on you!), just ask the question(s) above.
understand the processes which governs your function completely. don't just read through it as a mere tick in the box. wherever you have doubts, ask the relevant sources the questions to clarify. from a functional standpoint, there are three gears operating in unison, namely people (your team & other resources around), process (the guiding principles) & productivity (which happens when people & process meet together effectively), so you need to have a 360 degree understanding of all that is connected to these gears, & associated with your function. you also need to connect with each resource in your team. understand their challenges and pain areas. evaluate what you can do within the process to increase their efficiency. its people connecting with people, so more than books or websites, its what you do "on ground" on a day to day basis. you will do well by maintaining individual roosters for each resource on your team and this should flow into a master rooster, so that you have the vein of your business and function right there for you - a dashboard. Once you have a reasonable idea and knowledge on the workings of your team, you can throw in schemes and contests wherein you reward the best performer. thereby, you do two things, you grow the morale of your team members and secondly instill in them a sense of competition and all in all it leads to increase in productivity. like i said earlier, its three gears working in unison - people, process & productivity
Learn every strength and weakness of the people under you and shift your best workers to the forefront. With luck you can figure out exactly what is and isn't working correctly and start making changes to improve whatever conditions you can.
Must be a good listener...and treat customers as your brand ambassadors. ..
Firstly, congratulations. It is very common for a new manager to want to impress the powers that be from day one, don't be too hasty, that's when mistakes happen. Take a step back and soak in all that is around you, listen and learn and don't be afraid to ask questions (however trivial they might seem). The administrative side of your work will be set by the company, no need to worry there, as you complete tasks over and over again they will become second nature. The hardest job you will have will be managing your workforce, again be patient. As human beings, we are conditioned to be resistant to change, so don't rush in all guns blazing or you will create friction with your staff. Where possible encourage employee engagement and promote teamwork, ask their opinion on improvements etc. but most importantly you must be open and transparent and if you have not done so already, work on your communication skills. Don't let the position go to your head, demonstrate authority in a diplomatic manner, never autocratic and always impartial and fair. The same can be said for the rest of your customers (both internal and external). If you make mistakes, so what, you're only human just as long as you learn from them. Enjoy the experience, work hard, and I wish you well. Good luck.
I was prepared to write a great deal but other posters have hit on many of my points...Majdi and others mentioned that you should try to understand and appreciate every aspect of the business so that you can appreciate how everyone's efforts contribute to an overall goal.
Tyrone is right in saying that you must invest in yourself. Understand that there are a number of effective management skillsets that you can pick up in training courses.
Kin Tue-Fee stated that you should put your team first. In the military, the most valuable advice I got as a leader is that your team should eat first and sleep first, then you could ask anything of them.
Laura and Elaine both touch on important points as well since these are steps that can easily be accomplished in a series of group and one and one meetings. Let your team know what goals you are after and find out (really find out don"t just go through the motions) what their goals and motivations are.
The only thing that I would add is that you must make these things happen. You have got to schedule time to spend with each person to learn what they do to some degree and take actual notes. Your time and the fact you are taking notes will have a strong effect on your team.
Research and partake in courses that address management, team building, communication and leadership skills. Do one thing every month or so for the first quarter and reduce the frequency after that.
Assess weekly how best you can provide tools, resources, time and skills to your team so that they are free to do their jobs most effectively. This is something that you will get better at over time. I often tell supervisors and managers to try and imagine that their team of people was instead a fleet of valuable highly autonomous machines.
In this way it is easier to determine that someone needs time off or special care because they have been run hot for a long period doing things time that benefited the organization or dealing with something that was happening in their personal lives. We would not think twice about reducing the RPMs or even scheduling maintenance for a car that we accidentally ran at 6000 RPMs or above for too long. But we somehow believe that a person does not deserve that same consideration. Take care of your people they are your most valuable asset (Henry Ford believed this as well).
Finally, I believe that if you schedule meetings to state your goals (keep the goals realistic, challenging and measurable) and update your people as to the progress of these goals you can establish common goals that everyone can strive for. You must also remember to use one on one meetings to determine the goals and motivations of each team member
Listening to what your people have to say is just a smart way to achieve your goals since your team members deal with portions of these challenges every day. If you do this your initiatives will be more well thought out. In addition your team will become more active participants in implementing these initiatives since they can see their own thoughts and efforts incorporated in those initiatives.
Well Adam, I guess I still wrote a great deal but I hope some of it proves helpful.
Don't manage, LEAD, Understand your workforce, know what motivates them and act on it. Ask (and listen to) experienced staff as to what works, / doesn't work. Walk beside your staff when when they need your support, walk ahead of you staff when they need your defence and walk behind your staff when they deserve the credit.
Put your team members first. Coach them well. Positive results will automatically follow.
My book: Putting People First by Kin Tue-Fee (only through me)
Another recommendation is to be very clear on you vision and mission statement for your group. Make that mission statement prominent and visible in your workplace such that everyone understands the big picture direction the team is gaining toward. Work with them to better understand their role and responsibilities in that mission. Then allow the. Then allow them the space and creativeness to help you get there.
If the team doesn't understand you final destination, it's harder to get there.
Invest in yourself - personal/professional development, Invest in those you manage - strong relationships, encourage personal/professional development, lead by example, establish trust, communicate and listen effectively, and inspire those you are managing.
Resource(s) - http://www.rikeropportunityinstitute.com/
Book - Napoleon Hill, The Laws of Success in 16 lessons
Listen and work to promote TRUST as best you are able...
Listen as much as you can from day one and be open to other people's ideas. Also agree with Daniel that you will make mistakes and you must be able to accept them and move on, taking away the key learning points. Good luck!
From the top of my head:
Gather data on everything that is relevant to the efficiency of the process you are managing. Motivate your workforce, keep in mind they are human being so treat them well. Also listen to them carefully because they may give off signs that are important (some related to them personally, others that may shed some light on your process).
Lastly do not be afraid to make mistakes (fear usually stresses people out which makes it more likely that mistakes are actually made) and when you happen to make a mistake, acknowledge your mistake and see it as a learning moment.