The New Manager Checklist You Never Knew You Needed

Becoming a manager for the first time or with a new organization can pull your emotions in just about every direction. It’s exciting, overwhelming, and frightening all at once. You’re one step further down the career path, yet you have the responsibility of guiding your team as their fearless new leader.

While your employer will likely have an onboarding process and new manager training that integrate you into the company’s managerial styles, vision, and mission, you can still do quite a bit on your own to master the new role and set yourself up for success.

With a mix of the right questions, strategies, tips, and organization, this new manager checklist can put you right where you need to be from Day One. Soak in this information and make your transition as seamless and stress-free as possible.

A New Manager Checklist To Set Yourself Up for Success

Three managers meeting together

Good managers make awesome teams that lead to excellent company culture and employee engagement—and that all adds up to a successful business. Nevertheless, you’re sure to experience some growing pains along the way; it’s just a natural part of the transition from an employee to a manager.

If you’re willing to put in the time, keep your head up, and use this new manager checklist as a template for success, you’ll find a steady, solid groove that makes the job easier and more enjoyable each and every day.

Let’s get started.

Have Realistic Expectations

Where enthusiasm and positivity reign, realism can subside. The key is learning how to balance them. Don’t expect a company-wide transformation in the first day, first week, or even the first month of your tenure as a new manager.

You should still set expectations as early as possible for individual team members and your team as a whole. By doing so, you set a precedent for what you expect, as well as create a sense of transparency in your new job as manager.

Learn the Ins and Outs of Your Management Role

A job description and job duties list are superb ways to get a basic handle on what’s expected of you as a new manager. However, this can only take you so far. Between company policies, expectations of upper management, and the status quo of how work is done, job descriptions are merely a stepping stone into your role.

You need to get down to the nitty-gritty of what your role entails and familiarity with managerial and operational procedures. That is to say, you need clarity in your exact role. To gather intel on the specificities of your job, try this mini-checklist inside of your new manager checklist:

  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your direct superior. Not only does this let you know who you’re reporting to, but it also helps you understand your specific role, what constitutes success, and what your manager expects from you.
  • Focus on the most important or pressing issues. Although your job description is valuable as an overview, you need to know what aspects of the business need your attention post-haste. For example, the previous management style or leadership style could have bred resentment or disengagement among employees. As such, this would be priority number one on your start date.
  • Find out who works directly for you. Every team member is valuable to your success as a manager and knowing their name, title, and job role is vital for the sake of engagement and morale. If you’re in a smaller company, you can schedule one-on-one meetings with each person to learn more about each employee both professionally and personally.

Make the Mental Switch From Employee to Manager

One of the more difficult tasks often is entirely within yourself. It’s not mentioned by your employees or your superiors. It’s all about self-awareness and the ability to make the mental change from employee to manager.

The coaching, leadership, and managerial change in your mind isn’t the same for everyone. But you can use this new manager checklist for the transformation from employee to manager to leader:

  • Be patient. Like most things in management, this isn’t going to happen overnight
  • Stay invested in the betterment and success of your team members, as well as their needs. Schedule regular meetings and check in regularly, albeit without creating an overbearing schedule.
  • Don’t stand over everyone’s shoulder. Everyone on your team has a specific talent and expertise that got them hired. They’re individual contributors, as well as a team. Provide goals and deadlines, but don’t micromanage. Worry about whether the work gets done—not how it gets done.
  • Embrace diversity, inclusion, and equity on your team. Different perspectives provide a plethora of interesting solutions that can create a winning formula.

These ideas can push you in the right direction, but you might also want to take some time to meditate each day. Clear your head of the daily grind and release your stress. With meditation comes enlightenment and the idea that you’ve got this—because let’s face it—you do.

Schedule an Introductory Meeting

Introductory meeting with several team members

Regardless of whether you have enough time to have one-on-one meetings with your new team members, you should still schedule a meeting so that everyone’s on the same page.

During this team meeting, you can give your background and expertise (assuming you were an outside hire), discuss what you want to achieve moving forward, and build a general rapport with your new employees.

If possible, open the floor to questions relating to teamwork, common goals, management style, and other work-related topics. You probably don’t want to field personal questions this early on, so add your interests or hobbies when you introduce yourself.

Get Your House in Order

You’ve only just started your adventure into management, but you’re probably feeling a bit exhausted. It’s a lot to absorb in just a little amount of time, so don’t feel like you’re falling behind. At some point though, you need to put both your personal and professional affairs in order.

From a personal perspective, stay healthy. Feeling overworked or having more than you can reasonably accomplish is commonplace when you start, but you don’t want to get ill or burned out as a result. Get a reasonable amount of sleep and exercise, continue to eat right, and you should have the energy and focus you need.

Professionally, you need to set your schedule from the onset. Although you may need to stay at the office for a predetermined amount of hours, time management skills become essential. Set priorities, delegate tasks as part of your team management procedure, and perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to say no—too many new managers get burned out by always saying yes.

Complete Your New Manager Onboarding Checklist

Most large and midsize companies will have some sort of onboarding program that’s part of their new manager checklist. This might include:

  • Training videos
  • Policies pertaining to human resources
  • Company culture, mission statements, and visions for the future
  • Corporate and departmental structure
  • Employee performance review processes
  • Phrases, terms, and jargon used by managers and employees

If your company doesn’t offer onboarding for new hires or new managers, you can use your intuition and the list above to ask the right questions and get the answers you need.

Create a List of What You Need To Improve as a New Manager

Team meeting with graphs and charts

Although you may not reach this step for a few weeks or a month, it’s worth mentioning that self-improvement never ends. That’s why you should add a line for improvements to your new manager checklist.

The areas for improvement vary from manager to manager. If you’re a technophobic individual, managing a partially remote team may prove daunting, so that’s something you should add to your list.

However, the most popular and most pressing thing you need to address as a new manager are weaknesses. Perhaps you have problems motivating your team or acting as an inspiration. Maybe you’re well-versed in the industry itself, but your overall management abilities are lacking.

Whatever the issue, use management resources to help you improve. From podcasts to books to TED Talks, you can find specific information as it pertains to your management woes, your weaknesses, and how to become a better manager.

The Final Step of the New Manager Checklist: Become a Leader Who Employees Trust

A new manager checklist is an intelligent start to your campaign as a manager. Even with success, however, a time comes when you need to transition from manager to leader. Experience and education are crucial for your ascent to leader.

Yet no matter how much you read or you prepare, an outside perspective often brings insight that you couldn’t get on your own. If you’ve had a prosperous few months or a year as manager but you’re beginning to stagnate, leadership coaching and training can provide the extra layer of information and enlightenment that you need to excel.

A proper leadership training program provides the coaching and assessments you need to shape your team members into an unstoppable force that propels you to success.

A great leader knows that you can never have too much knowledge. Here’s your chance to absorb what you need and take your leadership and management skills to the next level.

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