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Nullo's avatar

Any tips for integrating a new manager?

Asked by Nullo (21934points) October 9th, 2010

The old manager is moving to another department, and his replacement is said to be very much by-the-book.

Trouble with that is that the book that he is very much by is written from theory, not practice; we the managed have had to develop workarounds and shortcuts and standards that are not entirely in compliance with policy to do our work in a timely manner.

Oven cleaner, for instance. We are provided with Brand A, which is about as effective as Windex. The store sells Brand B, which can take the paint off of cars. We have been eschewing Brand A, instead ‘buying’ Brand B and charging it to the store.
That sort of buying is a common-enough practice, but I don’t think that this new manager is going to be very keen on that.

It would be nice to keep our present setup (there is no hope of changing the rules, alas), but that would require informing the new guy, which would very probably end with bad feelings all around.

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7 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sounds like M*A*S*H, and your department is the Swamp and it is about to have Frank Burns move in.

From experience in working in similar situations, it often just takes additional time to explain why things are not being done by the book. We once had to write up a business plan on why the Canon typewriter we bought was not only saved the company time, but was cheaper than the Xerox-issued one that HQ sent to our office.

The Feel/Felt/Found process can work wonders as well. I understand how you feel about our using brand A. We used felt the same way as well, at first. What we found is that brand B saves us time by getting the job done more quickly, thus saving the company money. (It works really well on children, too.)

mattbrowne's avatar

Organize a one or two-day workshop which includes one social event in the evening. Use the workshop to exchange expectations and ideas.

partyparty's avatar

If he is a good manager, then he will get everyone together initially, and discuss how things work now, and what he is hoping to achieve in the future.
Then he should have a regular (perhaps weekly) meeting with everyone, to ask if there are any problems, or even suggestions, as to how things could be improved.
By including his staff he will get feedback, and perhaps act on these suggestions, so it becomes a win win situation.

perg's avatar

Ask the old manager to have lunch with the new one to talk about how your department works and why. As a manager, I personally tried to listen to and observe my new staff before I made any changes, but some managers are more inclined to trust the information when it comes from someone they view as a peer rather than from the people they supervise. Sucks, but it happens.

Haleth's avatar

How can you expect the manager to be open to your ideas, if you aren’t open to theirs? I think by “integrate a new manager” you really mean “get them to see things my way.” Odds are the manager will be thinking the same thing about your team. The best way forward is to voice your ideas in a respectful way and have a thorough explanation of why your way works well enough to warrant going against company policy. If you are convincing, it may even bring about permanent changes in “the book.” Have an open mind to your manager’s ideas.

Nullo's avatar

Thanks for all of your answers, except @BonusQuestion, who was unhelpful in an amusing fashion.

@Haleth That is what is meant by ‘integrate’.

I met the guy today; he seems excessively bland, compared to everybody else. The old manager looked a bit like a Hobbit. I learned that he thinks that the department – which always has more work to do than there are people to do it – is overstaffed. I can only hope that this means that he’s really, really good at managing.

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