As the author of Managing with Aloha, I get thoughtful questions from people via email. This one came a few days ago:
I just got a job as an intern. I’m pretty excited about it, for this company is growing like crazy, and they are known to give their graduating interns terrific opportunities if they’ve done well within their program. I’m hoping this will segue into my first management job when the term is over.
The manager I will report to, clued me in to the fact that learning is highly valued here. In your book, you’re pretty passionate about learning too: What kinds of things do you think I should include in my list of things to learn while in my internship?
I’d appreciate hearing of your thoughts.
Learning the Company Ropes
I sent Chris 2 short lists I’ve used in coaching new managers, and I thought I’d share them with you too. As preface in my email response, I called Chris’s attention back to the phrase reddened above: While I appreciate him reaching out to me, value alignment 101 for Chris, will be to completely understand what that learning expectation is as pertains to that company. He should;
1. Ask the manager to explain more about their expectations, and
2. Ask the manager for mentorship specific to those expectations.
3. Inquire about the best time to have check-in and follow-up conversations with them, i.e. establish how they prefer to communicate one-on-one going forward.
As for my general suggestions, these will help Chris learn the ropes there, and flesh out whatever his manager may share with him as specifics. When someone is hired as a management trainee, they are usually expected to learn about the business model first, and the workplace culture second and simultaneously.
Clicking on the links included will open a new page for relevant reading.
Just have time for 1 link for now? Cut to the chase here:
Managing with Aloha’s Learning Landscape: “Know well”
The Business List
- Learn the company’s values, brand promise, vision, and mission.
- Learn what the customer wants, and what all stakeholders expect. (Stakeholders includes the founders, owners, executive leadership, and shareholders of a business enterprise.)
- Learn the business model as the how-to connection to numbers 1. and 2., i.e. learn the ‘financial literacy’ of the company.
- Learn how the company communicates, by learning the vocabulary of the industry, and the ‘language’ of their relationships.
- Learn to be optimistic and positive, with an attitude of abundance, not scarcity. You are there to help the company improve, and must add value in some way. Do not stop at analysis and critique, and learn how to make acceptable, welcomed iterations little by little.
- Learn to shelve your ego, and always work on what’s good for the company as a whole. You will benefit as a result.
- Learn that integrity and ethics are just fancy words for telling the truth and doing what is right.
The Managing People List
- Learn that management is very visible, and your behavior shines like the brightest neon light.
- Learn to listen well, and listen way more than you speak. Learn to ask great questions.
- Learn to respect the dignity and intelligence of other people, no matter where they sit on the organizational chart. Everyone has something to teach you— everyone.
- Learn to identify and employ strengths in others in ways that make their weaknesses irrelevant.
- Learn that in working with others, managers must “do with,” not “do for.”
- Learn to catch people doing things right, and give others credit where credit is due.
- Learn that being a great manager is a calling, not a promotion.
Will Chris have more to learn? Sure. Lots more. But I believe that concentrating on these things first, in an internship sure to seem very short, will serve him well. He will learn more than he can now even imagine.
What were your most noteworthy lessons learned when you were a new manager? Do your lessons need a refresher course in your self-coaching?
This was originally written for Lifehack.org quite a while back, and is freshly edited (all the relevant linkage is new). I looked up the original when the question came up again, as it seems to do rather frequently, and as I greatly admire! Whatever the capacity they were hired for, every new employee must be more vocal with good questioning and asking for help (see those footnote tags below).
Pair this with: 5 Essentials Employees Need to Learn — From You at RosaSay.com