Saturday, October 17, 2015


Are you about to become the new manager of a department, section, or facility? Congratulations!
(See September's blog,
Here are three first steps to start you toward success.

Your first step is…to stand still and breathe. Unless your new staff is doing something right this minute that can end your career today, you will accomplish more by observing than you will by risking a misstep due to your momentary lack of knowledge. Think of the adage about fools rushing in. Even if you are already familiar with the department you have not experienced its culture and dynamics from this vantage point.

Your second step is to examine your new arena. Take notes. Check the statistics, investigate what is being tracked, and how. What metrics need adjustment? Who is on your team, what are their strengths, who are your internal vendors and customers? Which areas need improvement? This is your best opportunity to make a thorough assessment of the department, the challenges, and the talent you have inherited.

Bear in mind that the staff has legitimate, time-honored reasons for their methods. What appears to be inefficient or outmoded has served a purpose in the past. So be humble, be respectful, and check your assumptions by asking questions as you move forward.
Step number three is to analyze your findings and create action plans based on priorities you have identified, in addition to any priorities your own manager may have outlined. You have learned what the issues are, who your ‘go to’ members are, and you have made astute observations. These three first steps have prepared you to be a successful leader.

Jeannie Newman is the founder and Chief Solutions Officer of JZN Associates, which offers a full menu of soft skill solutions to agencies, organizations, and corporations, such as motivational and informative talks, lunchtime learning sessions, half day events, and program series. 

Her personal mission is helping individuals realize their full potential through improving their Emotional Intelligence. Find out more at, or connect with her on LinkedIn.


  1. Great content Jeannie. Your first impulse is to "rush in." Any time you can wait 24 hours before making a decision, the more likely it will be an informed and insightful one. The same things is crucial to leadership. It's a small change, but I believe, if more companies referred to people as "sales leaders" instead of "sales managers" they would begin a subtle shift towards greatness.

    1. Thanks, Michael. Good point about the 24 hours~~like the cooling off period in sales. Good point, also, about semantics. Positive words versus negative; powerful versus hackneyed or overdone.