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Challenge: When I onboard my new manager, what should my expectations be for my schedule?
Coach Response: I think it’s going to taper. The first few days, he’s going to be attached to you. You are going to be the lead and he’s going to watch how you make decisions, see what comes up and you guys will talk about it. Since you will be onsite, take advantage of just being right there. Then I would move to morning and afternoon check-ins talking about things to work on, things that are coming up, things to get done and then a check-in as the day goes on. Also, be sure to ask him what he thinks he should be working on because as he follows you around he will start to pick up who he needs to meet with and who he needs to shadow.
You want to tell him to just please be a sponge. I can’t say it any more explicitly especially as people come in as managers. Tell him not to come in and tell people how to change what they are doing. You will absolutely not ingratiate yourself to people if you tell them that. Tell him to take notes, talk with you about it and you can discuss together what makes sense. New employees, especially manager level, want to demonstrate that you made a good decision and prove their value. The easiest way to do that is to find mistakes and show how to solve them. That might be great for you but will piss everyone who works with him off.
I used to exclusively coach difficult leaders and I would say that with a huge percentage of them, part of the reason they developed this reputation as difficult is because in the beginning, they came in too intensely and they could never get the team back.