Infallible Introductions

When people first come on board, they need to be introduced. Names, roles, and memorable details should be exchanged. For example, "This is Sadie Brown. She looks after our databases and is a whiz at parasailing." "This is Chris White, our marketing guru. He did a great job on the Mars project." Associate each person with a memorable fact.

By the time you have walked them around all the departments (or the room) you will have given them an idea of the pace, who reports to whom, how they should behave when they hit a serious problem, what support they can expect, and so on.

Get to know your staff individually. Give them a lift or take them out for a meal. Find out what they've done, how they liked school, how things are at home, what they're proud of, what their aspirations are. And give them an insight into you. You can often do this without talking shop at all, but it will make your working environment more comfortable.

Before you allocate work or issue schedules, arrange a session to run through the minutiae. Explain how you intend the project to fit together, your management ethos, what you expect from each member, and what you are keen to avoid.

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