Your first day on the job will be a blur. It will be important to develop a rapport with all employees. This probably starts with an all-staff meeting. People will want to get to know the real person that sits in front of them. They will have seen your bio, but share some of the things you want to accomplish and how you will go about doing it. Let them see the excitement you have for the job.
- Be positive.
- First impressions matter.
- Make sure that you listen more than talk.
- Set aside one-on-one time with your direct reports. Meet with your board’s leadership or appointing body.
You will set an important tone to these conversations by taking good notes. It will demonstrate that you are sincerely interested in what people are saying to you, but those notes will be important for you to refer to as future issues arise. Every conversation is research for you.
Over the course of your first week, schedule as many meetings as you can with your staff and board member/administrators. Ask them a bit about their background. Ask about the thing they are most proud of and what keeps them up at night. Let them dream a bit, and have them share a thought or two about the most important thing the organization needs to address and accomplish.
It is important to remember that not everyone you will talk to will be excited about your new appointment. They may have favored another candidate. They may have been a candidate! On the first day of assuming my new leadership position, I met with the head of our fundraising department who told me, in no uncertain terms, that she was disappointed that I had been chosen. She had been hired by the previous manager and said that she only wanted to work for him. I listened to her carefully, expressed my desire to work with her and not against her. I promised her that I would work hard to be her partner. Of course, I was concerned that she had already made up her mind about me. She left for another job shortly afterward. You can’t turn everyone around.
This is an excerpt from THE PUBLIC MEDIA MANAGER’S HANDBOOK. Learn more about how to handle your first few days on the job as well as more about how to manage a media organization and the people who work with.
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