The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 17, 2013

New staff member on a very long-distance leash

QUESTION As a manager, I am accustomed to managing experienced professionals who do not need much day-to-day guidance on performing their tasks. I now have a new entry-level position on my team. The person we’ve hired is intelligent and motivated but needs a different level of engagement from me to be successful. To add to the complexity, he works in an office six time zones from mine. What is the best way for me to approach this?

ANSWER: Put a strong communication plan in place, maintaining it as one of your top daily priorities.

Start with reflecting on the reasons this position was added. Since this is a new role, you may not have a fully defined set of expectations and plan to figure it out as you go along. That’s never ideal, but in this case it may be setting your employee up for failure. So develop a short list of key goals so that he’ll know if he’s being successful.

Next, consider your new employee’s needs. To what extent do you understand his work style, his preferred manner of training and communication, and his level of knowledge related to his specific tasks? Putting yourself in his place, think about what you’d want from your boss and your work environment.

Also look at yourself and your level of skill as a manager of a new professional. Consider your ability to help him learn to break down tasks into manageable components, teach the necessary technical skills, and understand the company. Also recognize that you’re responsible for helping him develop in terms of general professionalism.

Finally, give some thought to the resources available to help your new team member, particularly at his office location, whether it’s training or mentoring.

Most of your efforts will focus on your direct interaction with your employee. For starters, set a time for a phone call that fits within both your business days, say, 9 a.m. for you and 3 p.m. for him. Try to identify a time that will be easy to protect from other meetings so you can count on having frequent interactions.

Text Only
Business
  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

Business Video
Stocks