Scott Elbin has solid advice for new managers Next Level Blog, but one point jumped out at me: “Pay Attention to the Artifacts.” In addition to telling new leaders to do things such as listen and learn, Elbin notes that what people see in your office sends a powerful message.
Step back and look at your workspace. Ask yourself whether it is saying any of these things:
- I’m approachable. Facing away from the entrance is good for avoiding interruptions, but not when you are trying to build rapport with members of your new team. If your computer faces the door, people will be able to catch your eye and start impromptu conversations on their way by. If space allows, a small table with two or more chairs will allow you to talk with team member without the physical—and mental—barrier of a desk between you.
- I’m focused on our goals. Displaying your organization’s mission, team goals and key metrics shows that you are devoted to them. When employees know that you take those things seriously, they will too.
- I’m well organized. A cluttered workspace doesn’t project a professional image. The time you spend tidying and organizing your office will pay off in productivity and reputation.
- I’m human too. Employees who are striving to understand you and make a connection will be glad to see something they can comment on to start a conversation, whether it’s a photo of the antique car you’ve been restoring or you coaching your daughter’s basketball team.
What in your workspace delivers an important message to your team or visitors?