Don't Be a Mystery Boss. Give the New Team Your Management Playbook.

Congratulations, you just started a new business. You’re excited about this opportunity and have great designs for your new team. You’re already thinking about the impact you want your business to have and how you and your team will add value. Conversely, your new team, in anticipation of working with you, is not sure what to expect and may feel anxious. Questions are filling the air. “Who exactly am I working for?” “What kind of manager are they?” “What’s their working style?” “What are their expectations?” 

On day one, these two worlds collide. As soon as you open your doors, you’re ready for business and start pushing forward. There’s one problem. You make the unwitting assumption that your new team knows what you want and how you like to work. This is where bad first impressions and misunderstandings flood a new relationship. No one is at fault. You, along with the rest of us, weren’t conscious of the importance of proactively communicating your management approach and preferences.

Related: 10 Insights on Building, Motivating and Managing an Exceptional Team

What’s the benefit of having a management playbook?

  • It forces you to reflect and think about how you like to lead, manage and interact with your team.
  • It eliminates the unknown (in this case you) and provides transparency for your team.
  • It will dramatically shorten the “getting to know you” phase.
  • It will demonstrate humanity by engaging with your team directly. This should be delivered in person and allow for discussion.
  • It will set the tone for the culture you want to create.
  • It will allow you to demonstrate impact quicker with fewer communication missteps and miscues.

Related: 7 Communication Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Master

What should be included? Here are some suggested topics.

  • Communication: Do you prefer in-person, text, email or phone? Does this vary by situation? For example, in-person during the day but if it’s an emergency, text. Do you expect an immediate response if you send an email during the weekend or is next business day appropriate?
  • Involvement in a project once initiated: Do you like regular updates or only at key milestones?
  • Mannerisms: Do prefer quick hallway chats or long sit down conversations?
  • Process information: Are you more of a cut to the chase person or do you like background and history?
  • Feedback: Do you provide on-the-spot comments or at scheduled intervals? Are you open to receive feedback?
  • Flextime: What’s your point-of-view on working in the office vs. working remotely?
  • Team interactions: Are you more comfortable one-on-one or with groups?
  • Pet peeves: These can be the little things that just drive you crazy.

Preferably, your management playbook should be one page and reflect your personality. A way to start is by creating a Top 10 list.

This leadership tool is beneficial for you and your team. With some reflection, you’ll have a deeper sense of your management approach and what’s most important to you. Your team will spend less time second-guessing what you want and more time achieving goals and desirable results.

Related: Do Startup Cultures Have to Be Profane?