A managerial position is one of both responsibility and authority, and it must be handled with the appropriate gravity. For those approaching their first jobs as managers, it is often difficult to determine what their first steps should be, which is why we are here. The first steps that any business leader must take can be roughly divided into two categories:
The first step for any new manager is to take stock of their surroundings. This will involve gathering all relevant information about the business: its employees, products and services, customers, policies and its reputation within its business environment. These are just some of the internal aspects of the business that you will need to understand in order to adequately move the business forward. A thorough manager will also need information regarding the business environment. This includes the business’ competitors and their standings, customer trends and preferences, and the direction of the industry as a whole. However, the most important among these that a manager must gather data on, are as follows:
A business’s customers are its backbone. Without them, it is impossible for the business to survive, much less thrive. As such, you must learn how your customers have interacted with the business in the past and how they should do in the future. This includes details regarding what attracted them to the business, how they are treated, what products they like the most and least, and what changes are required to promote their loyalty and to attract more.
Every business’s final goal is to earn profit. This profit is then used to grow and expand the business, while ensuring maintenance costs are covered. Profit is earned through a variety of means, most of which involve the sale of goods and services.
For any new manager, assessment of the non-executive employees is likely the most crucial aspect of their job. A majority of the business’s practices are carried out by these employees, which in many ways make them the most vital asset of the company. They more directly interact with customers and the product, they are more numerous and as such are more representative of the business than the managers, and they are directly responsible for the day-to-day output of the business.
New managers must learn their business’s policies in order to know their duties, limitations and authority. This will help you define what you are able to influence and what changes you can effect in the workplace.
PR refers to the public’s perception of the business. Without a good knowledge of the public’s stance on the business, its product and the industry generally, it will be difficult—if not impossible, to formulate effective marketing strategies.
From the information received through the data gathering process, and the subsequent opinions formed after analysis, the manager is finally equipped to start taking action. Each action taken must be geared towards a positive outcome for the company, both in the short and long term. Some businesses will require you to take severe action that leads to drastic changes, before the company can move forward and towards viability. However, this is often in the minority of situations. In most cases, a business will only require minor, yet crucial, adjustments to grow.
As we mentioned above, the wider employees are a crucial part of any organisation. As such, action will likely start with those beneath you. Getting them appropriate training to improve the way they perform their duties is always advised. You might however need to make changes in the staffing. This will include promoting those you believe are better suited to leadership positions, demoting those that aren’t, and dismissing employees that you don’t believe are capable of improvement and that do not benefit the organisation.
Each business has its own unique strategies and mode of operation. These generally determine its marketing strategies, how products and services are offered, and other terms that relate to revenue generation. They are often fixed at the establishment of the business and will have only changed a little over time. As a new manager, you have the opportunity to update some of these strategies that are now obsolete. It is your duty to improve productivity and to effect changes that will do so.
For this, you will likely require permission from the higher-ups. The company’s policies differ from its strategies in that they are more inward focused. They deal with how the company is run, the duties of the employees, terms of sales and purchases, and other similar factors. These affect the company in subtler ways such as maintenance costs, employee morale and the business atmosphere.
The duty of all managers is to ensure the company continuously performs better. Future fit leaders know that leadership and development planning go hand in hand to ensure they fulfil this duty. However, it is not necessary that this improvement is drastic or even noticeable. In these cases, the manager’s first duty is to simply maintain the business.
In the business world and in life in general, things never go precisely as you plan them. As a manager, you must continuously monitor the changes you make to determine their effect on the business. There is no guarantee that all of your changes will have an immediate positive effect. There is no failure in altering or making adjustments that you deem necessary. Similarly, you must be vigilant to any factors that you might have previously missed.
Just as important is the inclusion of your superiors in all aspects of the business. As a manager, you are simply one more rung in the hierarchy. One of your duties is to keep your superiors continually informed. This is especially important before you make any major decisions or changes.
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