Key Conversations

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    Five Key Conversations to have with your People Manager throughout your first few weeks

    Your relationship with your People Manager will be built through a continuing dialogue. Your discussions will begin before you accept the new position and continue into your transition and beyond. To help you make a smooth transition, here are five ‘key conversations’ that will help you engage with your People Manager and begin developing a facilitative and collaborative professional relationship.

    1. The situational diagnosis conversation

    It is essential to understand the overall business situation. Ask your People Manager for their insights into the business forecast and strategic priorities of Munich Re. How does your department fit into this? Where is the department/company going and how do they expect to get there?

    2. The expectations conversation

    Your agenda for this conversation is to understand and negotiate expectations. What does your People Manager need you to do in the short term and medium term? What does success look like? How will your performance be measured? Get in the habit of having very quick but clear expectation discussions. This can be a brief conversation which allows the both of you to stay in sync with one another. These three questions may be helpful during your discussion:

    • What are the major results you expect me to achieve in the next few weeks?
    • What results are most important?
    • What changes do you see happening this quarter or next quarter that will shift the priorities?

    3. The style conversation

    This conversation is about how you and your new People Manager interact on an ongoing basis. Is it face-to-face? In writing? By voicemail or email? How do your styles differ and what are the implications of your differences for how you should interact?

    4. The resources conversation

    This conversation is a negotiation for resources. What do you need to be successful? What do you need your People Manager to do? This may not always be physical resources but rather help from your People Manager or team to persuade the organization to confront the need for change.

    5. The personal development conversation

    Finally, discuss how your tenure in this job will contribute to your professional development. Are there projects that you can undertake? Are there courses or programs to further develop your skills?

    Reference: The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins (2003) and Learning and Development - New Manager Onboarding Guide. York University (2009).