Manager's honeymoon: how to spend it profitably

    "The specialist is like a flux: its fullness is one-sided." (Kozma Prutkov)

    How is the appointment of a manager in our industry? We take the best programmer in the team and immediately assign it first to clarify the situation:
    - Do you want to be a manager?
    - And what needs to be done?
    - Well, are there sausages in MS Project moving and getting plus 300 bucks?
    - Of course I will!

    After which two things immediately happen: the company loses a good programmer and acquires a bad, not quite experienced manager. And the old man Demarco with his company of friends-consultants then begins to tell that “the problems of projects are of a sociological rather than technological nature.”

    The results of our recent study once again poked into our industry specifics:
    • More than 50% of people believe that their leader does not know how to work with people

    Which prompted me to write this article.

    The overall effect of the transition to managers is further enhanced by the fact that our IT brother usually first turns on the appliance (“if I implement multithreading in Java, why don’t I figure it out with the washing machine?”), And in case of malfunctions it starts reading the instructions. That is, he begins to study the science of working with people when the first cones are not just full, but two more layers of cones are filled on top of them.

    Meanwhile, the appointment of a new person to the position of manager is a painful and extremely unstable situation. Why is this happening, and most importantly what exactly to do, if you are appointed, we’ll talk today.

    A selikhovkin colleague once cleverly described this situation as the manager’s honeymoon . Well, let's see with whomhave a romantic relationship working closely with the manager in the early days, weeks, and months.

    Consider a simple situation. Once upon a time there lived an engineer named Epifan, worked for himself in a team of colleagues, together they sharpened several key nuts in one of the projects.

    And everything would be fine if it weren’t for the news today that the project manager Nikolai had suddenly left the company.

    Before colleagues could catch their breath and wash their bones to the authorities, who were taking incomprehensible steps, a letter arrived from the director of the department (Ivan Ivanich):
    Dear colleagues, as you already know, Nikolay left our company. From Monday, Epifan becomes the manager of your project.

    Have a good weekend!

    Ivan Ivanovich


    The question arises: who is affected by this situation?

    At the training, students usually say: everyone. All are unlikely. It seems that not all 7 billion people in the world are beginning to worry about the appointment of Epiphanes. But who the situation will definitely affect is:

    1. Epifan's team - colleagues with whom he previously worked in the same team. And now he became their leader.

    2. Ivan Ivanovich, under whose leadership, a new green manager has now appeared.

    3. The customer of the project, who now has a new manager.

    4. Colleagues of managers - from the team of Ivan Ivanitch.

    5. HRs, system administrators and other colleagues with whom Epiphan will need to interact with in one way or another.

    6. The family of Epiphanes.

    7. Epiphanes himself.


    What exactly arises in the head of all these people?

    At the same time, if we think about what it means “affects”, then we will come to the conclusion that people have the following thoughts in their head:
    • Questions
    • Fears
    • Expectations

    Take, for example, the command of Epiphanes. Be sure, one of them (if not all) will have a question in their head: “Why was it appointed, and not me?” In fact, these are two questions:
    • Why didn’t they appoint me?
    • Why did they appoint him?

    In addition, the question immediately arises: where did Kolya go? What do we have with the project? Maybe there is better? Maybe Kolya knows what we don’t know yet? Is it time to update the resume?

    As you can see, innocent questions can transform into fears. How does Epiphanus use the information he knows about us? Previously, we drove together in counter, while the manager was at the meetings, and now? ..

    And of course, the team may have expectations: Epifan from our engineers, he knows all our pains - we will finally heal! ..

    With everything Epifanu needs to do something with this booth in people's heads. Because unanswered questions, unexplained expectations, and unresolved concerns can lead to unpredictable consequences.

    An abstract story about concerns. Six months after the start of work in the corporation, all employees received a letter of the following content:

    Dear colleagues, the policy of our company is to pay wages in the national currency of the branch where you work. Therefore, on such a date, your salaries will be converted from US dollars to rubles at the rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation on that day.

    The company started moving:

    - It's all for good reason ...
    - The company wants to save on us ...
    - What is the point of working for a company that wants to save on you? ..
    -Yes, let me update, just in case, a resume ...

    Noticing the movement, the managers came to the director: they say, something needs to be done. The director thought for a while and called for help from the president of the Russian branch of the corporation. The President has arrived.

    The president cautiously stepped out into the people and put forward a powerful thesis that “the policy of our company ...” From the back rows there was a skepticism:

    “It's not just that you want us to convert salaries into rubles!”
    - I explain it by the policy of our company ...
    - No, you just know that the dollar will rise, and you want to save on us!
    - Ghm, why will the course grow?
    - It is obvious! The US presidential election is coming soon, after them the course is always growing!

    The President's jaw dropped. Many years of work in Russia did not prepare him for such a diverse argumentation. He stood and thought, after which he said bewilderedly:

    “You know, we are not so smart ... If I knew where the dollar would go, I would do other things.”

    This greatly defused the situation. Simply put, the people neighing. And at least, no one left the company before the notorious date. And then he didn’t leave, because the dollar exchange rate hesitating back and forth, he began to fall at all. Despite signals from the White House about the re-election of George W. Bush.

    An abstract story about unfulfilled expectations . After a Siberian training, fate brought beer to the director of a small company. A colleague shared an instructive story.

    A year and a half ago, he says, he hired a new employee. The man immediately fit into the team and began to create with terrible speed and productivity. This has never happened before, and here a person in a couple of months has reached the level of a good employee.

    And now the New Year's Eve came up - it's time to pay bonuses in envelopes, the conditional $ 3,000. The director wondered how much to give the person. On the one hand, he worked only two months. But on the other hand, immediately fit into the team and burns, burns directly! Give, thinks, I'll give him $ 3,000, like everyone else.

    He issued an envelope, a man was delighted incredibly. And who would not be happy?
    A year has passed. It's time to pay the bonuses again. The director gives everyone $ 3,000 each, this guy also gives $ 3,000. He looks into the envelope and noticeably sad:

    - Why so little?
    - I mean, not enough?
    “Well then, I worked for two months, the bonus was $ 3,000, and now I have worked for a whole year, and again $ 3,000?” Where's the justice?
    - $% ^! So then I just wanted to encourage you ...
    - Hmm, it seems that the purchase of a cottage will have to be postponed ...

    With what words a person explained to his wife a delayed cottage - we can only guess. What happened to his motivation at work - we can only guess.

    Let's get back to our Epiphanes. The questions of all affected persons must be answered, fear removed, expectations clarified - and this should be done as quickly as possible. Otherwise, among the possible consequences:
    • Decrease in motivation: what's the point of working with full dedication if you are appointed as a manager and don’t understand who?
    • Sudden layoffs: everything, the career path is now closed for a couple of years, we must look for other ways ...
    • Attempts to help the manager fail
    • ...

    It is hoped that these consequences will not happen, but hope is not the most sustainable management plan . Need to do something. The question arises: what?

    Conversation scheme: when, with whom, in what order

    First of all, it would be nice to understand with whom and in what order to speak. The order may vary, but the general scheme, which seems logical to us and has worked well several times, is approximately as follows:
    1. Conversation with the departed manager
    2. Conversation with HR
    3. Conversation with the boss
    4. Conversation with the team
    5. A conversation with team members 1: 1
    6. Conversation with the customer
    7. Conversation with new colleagues
    8. Conversation with the boss

    1. Conversation with the departed manager (Kolya).

    The departed manager is a valuable source of information:
    • About all the people Epiphanos is to work with now
    • Project status
    • Status of problems, arrangements, etc.
    • Why did he leave and what is going on

    When communicating with a departed manager, it would be nice to consider two things:

    A. How can this be perceived by the authorities (Ivan Ivanovich). If there is a chance that communication with Kolya can be perceived strictly negatively (as a betrayal), then it is likely that you will have to refuse this valuable source of information.

    B. The frame of the departed manager. A person can leave on the positive side and then everything will be fine with him:

    - The team is excellent, the customer is not easy, but you can learn a lot from him, Ivan Ivanovich is a man!

    Or Kolya can leave on the negative and then the weight will be bad:

    - We picked up on the ads, the customer is inadequate, Ivan Ivanovich - as a good person. but as a manager is complete ...

    Therefore, in a conversation with the departed manager, it would be nice to catch the facts. We will not give a list of questions here - it is disclosed in sufficient detail in our Intellect card “Formula for Working with People” .

    2. Conversation with HR.

    It is clear that HR in companies play very different roles. But it may turn out that this person knows a lot about team members:
    • When to whom salaries were raised
    • Who wanted to go where
    • What conflicts did anyone have and with whom?
    • What is the best way to communicate with Ivan Ivanovich
    • ...

    3. A conversation with the boss.

    As part of this conversation, it would be nice to do a few things:

    A. Ask them to officially introduce themselves to the team and explain why the boss made such a decision. The fact is that Epifan himself cannot explain to the team why he was appointed. This was not his decision and so far he does not have much authority before the team. (Yes, he most likely has technical authority, but people still have a question: why not me.) A legitimate transfer of power must take place, as they say.

    And if at a meeting with the team someone will have questions why Epifan was appointed, Ivan Ivanovich will answer these questions. After which, he can leave the meeting with the team.

    B. Find out why Kolya left.This can be compared with information obtained directly from Kolya, and draw a picture of two opinions for yourself, trying to select the facts. They will come in handy when explaining to the team why Kolya left.

    C. Find out what the boss is expecting from the newly appointed manager. And by what specific parameters he will understand that he coped. If you do not ask this or get a fuzzy answer, then this is a game according to the rules that will open after its end.

    D. Discuss the feedback format - what will be done and when you come to tell what happened and what you learned.
    A complete list of issues for discussion with the boss is again in the “Formula for Working with People” .

    (to be continued ...)

    In the next part we will talk about:
    • How to build a conversation with the remaining participants in the situation
    • Meetings 1: 1 (by the way, I’ll talk about them for 2 hours on November 14 at the Stratoplan PRO + People conference )
    • 9 universal things and techniques that greatly facilitates the work of a manager in a new team

    PS The Stratoplan blog has moved to a separate site: - see you there!

    Also popular now: