You know you are in the right place when your values and mission matches those of the organisation. But too often, it is only when you are applying for the job that you even really investigate what is important to this organisation and what its big priorities are (BTW – this is an important key to getting that job – so if you are not getting the job you want try dong this research!!).
Once you have landed the job you just get down to it right – do the work, fumbling around trying work out where you should be focusing your efforts first. And if this is your first management role, then you are also trying to work out what a manager does. A few weeks or months into it and you realise that you are over whelmed and feel like you are making very little head way – and not even sure that you are focusing on the right things – until your boss comes to you are asks what you have been doing and his or her priorities and where you have been spending time just don’t match!!
It is around this point that I am often asked to help with mentoring. In all of the anxiety and stress of “I am not sure I am cut out for this – I don’t understand what they want or how to get through it all”, the real question is missed – and the person who knows best is not asked it. And that is:
“Have you asked your boss what their most important priorities are right now and what they expect of you in achieving these?”
Invariably the answer is – you guessed it: “no”
There is no (reasonable) expectation that you should what your boss is think without asking them. So ask – and ask often. Every week you should be checking in with your boss to clarity priorities and expectations and reporting back on what you have achieved and what you need help with – make it a habit.
And do this for your team – they are in the same position as you are in this – they need to know what is important to you and the organisation.
- Set up a regular catchup in your boss’s diary to sort out priorities and expectations for the week.
- Apart for asking your boss, how else will you know what is important to the organisation and what is priorities are?
- Check out it’s strategic plan, mission, values and the strategic priorities for the year.
- How can your team contribute to these? What is its mission/purpose and values? Engage your team in this conversation so they are completely aligned and understand what is important, why and where they should be spend their efforts.
- Draft a brief unit plan that will guide your team for the coming year. Down load the worksheet to help guide this process.