So, I’ve Got a New Direct Report

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You are so excited because you (finally!!) have someone new you are bringing onto your team!

You’ve been waiting a LONG time for them – and want to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

As you are prepping to bring them on, we’ve got a couple of tips on things to think about!

First, they don’t know what they don’t know. You’ve been here for a while. You know the ins and outs of the company. You know that Bob never has matching socks and that on Friday’s, everyone goes to happy hour at 6.

Take a couple of minutes this week to really think about those things. Reflect on your days and weeks and think about those “things that you just know” and try to capture them.

Next, identify your expectations—because you’ve got ‘em (we all do!)

Schedule some time in your calendar this week and think about this:

  • What are the “shoulds” that you think of for this person?

That is, when you think about them, do you think “they should know this”, or “they should be ready for their first client call by X date”, or “their primary resource for questions should be Sally”.

Write all those out and then think about what is the best way (and time) to communicate all those to your new direct.

We’d recommend to not do it all at once, and also to make sure you ACTUALLY communicate all those expectations.

Last, consider the experience you want them to have.

Yes, this will all be new and it will likely be overwhelming. And in the midst of that, what do you want them to remember or experience?

Maybe you want them to know that they’ve got you as a support, so you’re going to coordinate team lunches once a week for the next few weeks to help the whole team get to know each other better.

Or maybe you want them to know that you really value their opinion, so every couple of days you’ll set up structured time to ask them what is going well and what else they would like or need.

You have the opportunity to create the experience you want them to have. So think about what that overall experience is and then a couple of practical ways that you can make that happen!

We’re excited for your new direct and would love to hear your best ideas in on-boarding someone new!

Stop

No really… stop.

 

When is the last time you actually stopped to think about your direct reports?

I recently came across this info-graph below. Now, before you stop reading because it seems slightly cheesy, I’d like to challenge your thinking.

How to lead....

When was the last time you considered each of your direct reports individually and thought about the most effective way to empower them to be the best that they can?

As Managers, it can be so easy to just continue “doing”. When we bring someone new onto our teams, we focus on getting to know them. But once we’ve been working together for a year, or two, or five – it becomes much more challenging to s.t.o.p. and r.e.f.l.e.c.t and c.o.n.s.i.d.e.r what they really need.

We know you’re busy but this week, take 5 minutes for each of your directs and think about:

  • Where are they thriving?
  • Where are they struggling?
  • What is one thing you can do this week to support them where they are?

You may be surprised at how even just those couple of minutes can create a mind set shift in how you all interact this week.

Asking Empowering Questions

“Objection, your Honor! Counsel is leading the witness.”

As we watch Law & Order, L.A. Law, Boston Legal, or Suits (you choose your law-show guilty pleasure), it’s clear to hear when a “leading question” has been asked. According to Dictionary.com, a leading question is defined as “a question so worded as to suggest the proper or desired answer”.

Think back to conversations with your direct reports. Could you be guilty of the same thing? Or guilty of asking closed questions- where your direct report feels there is only one way to answer the question?

Wording questions to help your direct report think deeper can be difficult. Judith Ross from the Harvard Business Review gives some great practical tips on How to Ask Better Questions and create a culture that embraces questions.

Why should you ask empowering questions? Because an empowering question, “does more than convey respect for the person to whom it’s posed. It actually encourages that person’s development as a thinker and problem solver, thereby delivering both short-term and long-term value”.

Empowering questions, “create clarity, inspire people to reflect, challenge assumptions, and create ownership of solutions”, and much more!

What does the opposite look like? A disempowering question, “undercuts the confidence of the person to whom it’s asked and sabotages her performance”.

In a conversation this week, try to rephrase a question to be more empowering!

How’d it go?