22 Questions New Managers Should Ask on Day One

22 Questions New Managers Should Ask on Day One
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

Questions New Managers Should Ask
Based upon feedback from thousands of new managers during new manager training, we have identified questions new managers should ask on day one if they want to be set up for success.

Too Many New Managers Are Not Prepared
The shift from being an individual contributor to taking on the role of manager is huge. Unfortunately, very few new managers are well prepared to succeed without a lot of management training and support.  A recent McKinsey study found that nearly 70% of senior executives are only “somewhat” or “not at all satisfied” with the performance of their companies’ front-line managers and that 81% of front-line managers are not satisfied with their own performance.

Even Experienced Leaders Stumble
Leadership transitions can be daunting. But there are steps you can take that will minimize leadership mistakes and maximize both your performance and the performance of your team. And those steps are the same for new managers who are in over their head and for leaders who have been leading ineffectively.

Questions New Managers Should Ask on Day One
Smart leaders invest the time and energy to understand the current situation, complications, and implications of their role and their team from day one.  Based upon people manager assessment data, here are twenty two questions new managers should ask, and answer, from the start:

Ten Alignment and Focus Questions New Managers Should Ask

  1. How is my boss’ success measured?
  2. Has the team been achieving its objectives?
  3. How do the team objectives map to overall strategic priorities?
  4. Are individual and team goals and accountabilities clear?
  5. Does everyone know how success and failure at work is measured?
  6. Are workplace rewards at the individual and team levels clearly understood?
  7. Is everyone clear on their roles and responsibilities?
  8. Have inter-dependencies between team members and key stakeholders been identified?
  9. Is work organized in a way that clearly leads to accomplishing individual and team’s goals?
  10. Do we agree upon who our key stakeholders are?


Want some research-backed new manager tools?

Download New Manager Toolkit Now


Seven Decision-Making, Resources, and Information Questions New Managers Should Ask

  1. Are decisions based on who has the expertise and best information?
  2. Do decisions demonstrate a healthy balance of short- and long-term focus?
  3. Are mistakes accepted as learning experiences?
  4. Is time taken to examine and improve decision-making?
  5. Is information shared appropriately?
  6. Does the team have access to the resources required to do their job?
  7. Are team members responding positively to the changes required to succeed?


Five Interpersonal Questions New Managers Should Ask

  1. Is there trust and openness in communication and relationships?
  2. Does each team member feel valued and heard for their point of view?
  3. Is attention given to leveraging all perspectives and insights?
  4. Is conflict between team members confronted openly and constructively?
  5. Do people do what they say they are going to do?

The Bottom Line
Effective new managers know that their success is measured by the success of their team.  If you do not know the answers to the above questions new managers should ask, you need to show some vulnerability and ask for help. Find someone who has tackled similar challenges before and have them help set your team up for success.

To learn more about becoming an effective new manager, download The 4 Management Metrics that Matter Most

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance