New Manager Checklist: Everything You Need to Do in Your First 30 Days
No one tells new managers what they’re meant to do, especially in those early days. They expect you to just…get it. And that’s hardly fair.
Which is why we created his new manager checklist. It has tips and must-do tasks that will get you through those first 30 days as a manager.
It’s pretty straightforward—each main heading is a task and underneath we’ve provided guidance on completing it (including when in those 30 days the task falls).
Taking Your First Steps as a New Manager: The First 30 Days
✅ Check in with YOUR manager
So you’ve just been promoted (or hired in) to your first management role. Before you do anything else, you’ll want to speak to your manager.
Here’s what you’ll want to get from this time:
- Advice: Your manager has been where you are now. Ask for their advice on transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager. Their experiences can provide you with a roadmap of what to expect and how to navigate the challenges ahead.
- Expectations: It's essential to have a clear understanding of what success looks like in your new role. Discuss with your supervisor their expectations regarding your performance, team management, and goals.
- Resources: Your direct supervisor can guide you to resources that might be helpful in your new role. This could include training materials, contacts within the organization who can offer support, and a new manager onboarding checklist.
- Future check-ins: Regular meetings with your supervisor can provide ongoing support and guidance. These check-ins are a chance to discuss progress, address any concerns, and adjust strategies as needed.
✅ Familiarize yourself with the role
Read through your job description and other company resources. As you do, make note of any questions you have on company policies, performance expectations, the organizational structure, etc and share them with HR.
You’ll also want to understand all processes your role is responsible for such as the employee performance review process and company’s recruiting process.
And of course, if you’re new to the company as well as the role, you should learn the ins and outs of the company culture. Understanding this will help you align your management style with the company's ethos and ensure a smooth integration with your team.
The more you understand about your role and the company's inner workings, the better equipped you'll be to lead your team effectively.
✅ Leave the IC mindset behind
Days 1-30+ (this will take some time to get used to)
As an IC, you were focused on personal productivity, delivering results, and solving problems on your own. Now, as a manager, your role is fundamentally different.
Your success is no longer measured by just your output but by the output of your team.
This requires a shift in mindset and a realignment of how you spend your time. Some first-time managers will still have some elements of IC responsibilities on their plate while others will transition fully away from it.
Find out where your role lies and how you need to split your time and adjust your mindset from one of me to we.
Below is an image from JooBee Yeow, advisor to start-up founders and leadership expert, where she outlines the responsibilities of a manager.
✅ (Re) Introduce yourself to your team
The way you reintroduce yourself can significantly impact how smoothly your team adapts to this change. It's about setting a tone of respect, openness, and collaboration from the outset.
If you’re being promoted into a management position from within the company, you have an interesting transition ahead. Not only are you taking on entirely new responsibilities in your team but the relationship with your team members is going to shift.
Sure you’re still ‘one of them’ but now you’re responsible for some, if not all of them depending on the structure of the team. And this can come with some growing pains. Some team members may feel resentful that you’re now above them; others may struggle to see you as a superior.
To reduce the chances of this happening, you can have a meeting to address:
- The change itself: If you're promoted from within, acknowledge the shift in dynamics. Your former peers are now your direct reports, which can lead to mixed feelings. Some might feel resentful or find it hard to adjust to this new relationship. Address these potential issues head-on. Share your vision for the team and how you plan to navigate this transition together.
- Your role: Clearly explain your new role and responsibilities. Discuss how this change will affect team operations and individual roles. Emphasize that while your position has changed, your commitment to the team's success and well-being remains steadfast.
If you’re completely new to both business and role, an introduction is still in order.
There you can:
- Build trust with new team members: If you're new to the company, a formal introduction is crucial. Present yourself not just as a leader but as a collaborator eager to understand and contribute to the team's culture and goals. Show genuine interest in learning about each team member's role, experiences, and perspectives.
- Establish open communication: Encourage open and honest communication. Let your team know that their thoughts and feedback are valuable. This helps in building trust and eases the transition for everyone involved.
✅ Take time to speak to each direct report privately
Following on from your first team meeting, you should set up one on one meetings with individual team members.
This gives you the opportunity to:
- Understand individual perspectives: These private conversations allow you to understand each individual team member’s unique perspective, work style, and career aspirations. It's an opportunity to get to know them beyond their professional roles.
- Set the tone for future interactions: These meetings set a precedent for open communication. It shows your team that you value their input and are approachable, creating a comfortable environment for future discussions.
- Discuss expectations and goals: Use this time to discuss your expectations and understand their professional goals. This helps in aligning individual objectives with the team's overall objectives.
- Identify potential challenges: Individual meetings can reveal potential challenges that team members might be facing. Addressing these early on can prevent future issues and shows that you are proactive and supportive.
- Build trust: Personal interactions are key to building trust. Showing genuine interest in your team members' well-being and professional development fosters a strong, supportive team dynamic.
✅ Set priorities as a team
In the second week you can start to look toward the future. What does the team need to focus on to help the business achieve its targets? What problems and blockers currently exist that are preventing the team from performing?
Encourage each team member to contribute their thoughts on what the team's priorities should be. This includes listening to the perspectives of new hires, who can offer fresh insights.
Once priorities are set, develop an action plan. This should outline the steps needed to achieve these priorities, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines.
Be open to adjusting these priorities as needed. Flexibility is key, especially when accommodating the insights of new team members or in response to evolving business needs.
✅ Schedule time with your managing peers
As you settle into your new role, it's important to connect with your peers in the management team.
Cross-team collaboration and communication is important for avoiding work silos and your relationship with other managers will help to create a positive work environment.
Here’s what you can gain from speaking with your managing peers:
- Learn from experienced peers: Scheduling time with seasoned managers provides an opportunity to learn from their experiences. They can offer insights and advice on navigating the challenges of management within your company.
- Understand the company’s management culture: Each company has its unique management style and culture. By interacting with other managers, you can gain a clearer understanding of this culture, which is crucial for your effectiveness as a manager.
- Build a support network: Developing relationships with your peers creates a support network. These connections can be invaluable for seeking guidance, sharing experiences, and getting feedback.
- Collaborate on cross-departmental goals: Meeting with managers from different departments can open doors for collaboration. It helps in aligning departmental objectives and ensures a cohesive approach to achieving company-wide goals.
✅ Identify what management skills you need to improve
Remember how we said moving into management will require a mindset shift? Well it also will require you to tap into specific skills you might not have spent much time developing.
- Conflict management
- Strategic thinking
- Financial management
- Active listening
The longer you’re in the role the better you’ll understand where you fall short and where you soar.
You should also ask others to help pinpoint your development areas. Your manager and your direct reports are great places to start but don’t forget about other managers who work alongside you.
Need help? We have a full list of people management skills you can refer to and audit yourself against.
✅ Plan how you’ll strengthen them
Once you've identified the areas of improvement in your management skills, it's time to create a concrete plan for strengthening them.
Here's how you can approach this:
- Set specific goals: Based on your self-assessment and the feedback received, set clear, achievable goals. For example, if conflict management is a key area, you might aim to resolve conflicts more effectively or to handle difficult conversations with greater ease.
- Seek educational resources: Look for workshops, seminars, or online courses that focus on enhancing management skills. Reading books and relevant articles can also provide valuable insights and strategies.
- Use Waggle: As a manager, consider leveraging Waggle's AI co-pilot features. Waggle can assist in areas like scheduling, providing reminders for follow-ups, and even providing actionable feedback for leadership skill development.
- Work with a mentor: Find a mentor who excels in the areas where you want to improve. Regular meetings with them can provide guidance, support, and accountability.
- Apply learning in real situations: The best way to improve is through practice. Apply what you learn in real-life situations and reflect on the outcomes.
- Create a feedback loop: Continuously seek feedback from your team and peers. This will help you gauge your improvement and make necessary adjustments to your approach.
- Join professional networks: Engage with professional networks or management groups. These platforms can provide support, share best practices, and offer perspectives from other managers facing similar challenges. We have a free manager's community you can join here.
✅ Start your 15 day free trial with Waggle — your management co-pilot
After you’ve been in the role for a few weeks, have familiarized yourself with your role, spoken to everyone you need, and realized just how different this job is to any other you’ve had before it’s time to get Waggle.
Waggle is the AI co-pilot helping managers lead their team effectively to high performance.
It’s a great tool for new managers because it assists in skill development, streamlines meeting preparations, prioritizes tasks, and applies behavioral science for real, impactful change.
You get a free 15 day trial when you sign up. We’ll personally onboard you so that you get the most from your trial.
Once the trial is over, speak to your HR department about paying for the subscription on your behalf. Many Waggle users pay for the tool through their company’s learning and development allowance.
Day 31 and beyond
Congratulations on reaching the end of your first month as a manager!
Now what? We’d love to say it’s smooth sailing here on out, but the truth is every day will bring a new challenge for you to overcome and learn from. While difficult, managing can be incredibly rewarding as you help your team perform and grow in their roles.
Some tasks you may encounter in your first year include:
- Onboarding new hires
- Building a complete onboarding process for those new hires
- Overseeing performance reviews
- Firing an underperformer 🙁
- Helping team members resolve a conflict
- Supporting a direct report through a tough time
- Developing and implementing team goals and objectives
- Navigating budget and resource allocation for your team
- Creating professional development plans for team members
- Leading team meetings and setting agendas
- Collaborating with other departments on cross-functional projects
- Regularly assessing and adapting your management style and strategies
We have plenty of resources to help you navigate these challenges and are always creating more.
Here are some pieces to get you started: