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  • Writer's pictureJessica

About Me at Work: A tool to help onboard or transition employees to your leadership

Updated: May 3

I'm in a Facebook group called Nonprofit Happy Hour where this question was recently asked, "When you've started at a new job or welcomed staff onto your team, what have been some onboarding activities that worked really well? What's failed?"

A Facebook post of white letters on a purple and blue background reading "When you've started at a new job or welcomed staff onto your team, what have been some onboarding activities that worked really well? What's failed?"

I loved this question and the answers from this online community. Having lunch together, scheduling out the employee's first days, setting them up with peer mentors, and ensuring that they meet folks across the organization were all amazing recommendations that I wholeheartedly agree with. Other onboarding recommendations were more practical, like ensuring that the new employee has the right access to technology and knows where they can grab supplies/ store their lunch.

As for info on what to avoid in onboarding, one community member wrote, "Naked and afraid icebreaker exercise did not go well. Not at all." I see a sketch comedy show coming out of that experience.

My response was: "I put together a document (2 pages) that I share with folks on my team. It explains my leadership style, answers some questions about my communications preferences, and outlines my values. At the same time, telling folks that I will respect their values, styles, and preferences. It's always hard to "figure out" a new manager. I saw this recommendation on a FastCompany or HBR article, that combined it with some insights that I got from a management coach."

A few community members asked if they could see the document, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to update it and share it here.

A few notes:

1) I first created this document in November/ December 2022 when I started in a parental leave contract role, leading a team with two direct reports. I had the opportunity to work with a management coach earlier that year and through that experience, learned a lot about myself in the workplace. I wanted to be as transparent as possible to set up the team for a smooth transition and positive experience.

2) I ran the document by my manager before sharing it with my direct reports, ensuring that my intention and approach would align with the organizational culture and values.

3) Prior to sharing this document, I had one-on-one conversations with each team member, mixing in learning about their work as well as who they are as people outside of work. I then explained what was in the document, why I put it together, and that they could come to me with any questions about it. I also let them know that I didn't expect a similar document from them.

4) When I finally did send the document by email, it was about three weeks into my new role, after key transition conversations had taken place and I had built a rapport with the team. When to share the document will depend on unique circumstances and I advise you to be very intentional with each step of the process.

5) This is a living document that I will share as needed with colleagues (direct reports or not, new or not). The bit on the Decision Tree Delegation Model? I added that today after taking some awesome leadership training that highlighted how to utilize the model.

6) Even if you don't end up sharing a document like this, it could be a great exercise to create one for yourself to reflect on how you show up, communicate, and lead at work.

I've shared my "About Me at Work" document below, with redacted information, in Word Format so that others can easily use it as a template. Please let me know if you find it helpful or if you have any recommendations to make it better! Also, if you can find that FastCompany or HBR article that encouraged me to put this together, please share the link!

Send me a message through the Contact page or leave a comment below. Thanks!

About me at Work
Download DOCX • 21KB

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1 Comment

Aug 01, 2023

This is great, Jessica. Your About Me At Work document is really thorough, shows a humanity in you and is honest and authentic. Great leadership in action! Faiza Venzant, CVA

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