Congratulations, you have found a new job as an IT Manager. This new job could be leading a development team, managing a group of developers, or any other management position in the IT group. How you approach your first day at the new company will make a huge difference, putting you on the path to success or making your new role a struggle. You may have been promoted to a management position at your last company, so you might not have any experience starting at a new company as a manager.
- Greet Everyone – Say hello to everyone you meet, making sure you make eye contact with each person and don’t forget to smile. You will certainly want to greet everyone on your team, but you have to acknowledge that you will meet a lot of new people and it may be impossible to remember all the names and match them to faces later.
- Start Asking Questions – By talking to the team, you will start your discovery into what each person finds important. Your team needs to know that you are interested in what they do (professionally and personally) and that you are open to their comments, ideas, and suggestions.
- Listen – As you talk to each person, don’t forget to listen to what they are saying. To demonstrate you are listening, make eye contact and use supportive body language. Don’t be quick to offer suggestions or make recommendations for any changes. There will be plenty of time to think about improvements and recommend changes in the coming weeks or months.
- Be Positive – Never be critical about any other employee (this is your first day) or make any negative remarks about any previous employees. Sure, it will be easy to blame any issues on the last manager, but you want to convince your team that you are responsible for things going forward and you are not someone who will blame someone else for any issue. Acknowledge possible shortfalls, but remain positive.
- Identify Strengths – Look for what is being done correctly. Listen to what your team is doing and what you find impressive. Make sure to recognize those items as you discuss your first day experience with your boss so they can see you respect the hard work done by the team before you have arrived, and aren’t just looking for things you want to change.
- Solicit Ideas – As you meet people, including those not on your team, ask them what they like or dislike about IT in general, or your area of expertise specifically. One idea is to ask them if there is one thing they would like to change about the way IT provides service or about the job they perform. They might not have an answer, but they will see you as someone open to ideas and willing to talk about what isn’t working well.
- Talk to the Boss – If you haven’t already done so, make sure you set aside some time with your boss to review their expectations and understand how they will measure your success. Don’t assume the discussions during your interview included everything you need to know, so make sure you start on day one with a clear understanding of how they will determine if you are doing your job properly.
- Schedule Work Time – Don’t let being an manager, and performing management teaks, prevent you from scheduling time with your team to watch them perform their daily tasks, looking at the tools they are using, and reviewing how they utilize policies, procedures, or checklists. This will also give you a chance to see first-hand if they are swamped with telephone calls, the volume of trouble tickets, etc. Work with each member of our team to schedule a follow-up work observation session, being clear you want to observe a day-in-the-life for a hour or two to better understand their challenges.
- Have Fun – As difficult as it might seem on that first day, you need to enjoy the day. Don’t forget to smile, and if something funny happens you should laugh with everyone else. Even if you do something embarrassing, you have to laugh it off and keep a positive attitude.
- Say Goodnight – Make sure you say goodnight to your team, even if you are leaving before them. This will help in your team-building effort by bonding with your team.
While these are just general guidelines, some specific IT-related items you might also need to collect on that first day:
- Organization Chart – This will be helpful later to identify those people you met on your first day. You might not remember their name, but you might know it was a manager in Marketing. Look up the position on the chart and how you have their name.
- Telephone List – You need to get a list of office telephone numbers for the entire company, and the private numbers for your team members and boss. You will be expected to have the ability to contact everyone on your team at any time, and you may need to contact your boss at home during an emergency.
- Network Diagram – This might be a little tougher to get depending on you position, but it will help you understand the size and scope of the infrastructure. You might set a substitute based on your role, but ask for everything and accept what you can get.
- Server List – List of all servers, including names, ip addresses, purpose, operating system, etc. This is helpful in your effort to understand what systems are supported by the entire IT Department.
- List of Applications – This includes third-party applications, custom applications, and cloud-based applications. This will be helpful in understanding what applications are important to your business, what support requirements exist, and what training opportunities might be available.
- Process Documentation – You need access to all policies, procedures, guidelines, and checklists used in IT, but you may only get access based on your specific role. Ask for everything and accept what you can get. This will help you understand how things are supposed to be done, and when the documents were last updated. This will help you understand how important the documentation is to the team, which is important knowledge as you learn more about the team.
- Keys – You need to make sure you have any physical keys, key codes, parking pass, or badge permissions you and your supervisor determine are important. This might also include the lobby doors, server room, storage areas, or off-site locations.
- Network Permissions – Make sure you can log into your new computer and that you have access to email. If there are specific network folders, servers, email groups, or systems you need for your position make sure you verify you have access as soon as possible. It would be very embarrassing to announce you haven’t been getting any emails after you have been in your new job for over a week.
- Work Schedule – If there is a published on-call or vacation schedule, make sure you have access so you can better understand everyone’s schedule and when your people might be out of the office.
Don’t forget to take lots of notes and try to make new friends.