CADDManager on May 23rd, 2012
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series The Trials of a New CAD Manager

Trial Three:  Ambiguity of your Duties: What am I supposed to do?

Sometimes new managers really do not have a full understanding of what they are to be doing.  Most have a good grip on what it took to get them the position, but if they are growing into the spot, they may not see all the functions that need addressing out of the gate.  Even tenured CAD Managers have some ambiguity when stepping into a new firm.

Symptoms of this Trial: 

Some indications to look for to see if you are suffering from this difficulty is to listen to others.  Do you hear things like “I thought that was your job” or “Weren’t you going to do that?” or maybe even “Obviously we expect you to do that”.

Other indicators might not be so obvious.  They include the perceptions by others of what you do on a daily or weekly basis.  The perception may be nowhere close to reality and you may not hear anyone saying anything.  Under their breath or out of earshot questions may rise like “what does he do all day?” or “It seems like she is not doing much”.

When this Trial comes your way:

While not being able to address the unspoken feelings of others, you can address the comments directed toward you.  When someone mentions that it is “your job” to do such and such.  Either correct them or admit that you will get to it.  You could say “ I thought so and so did that. I would love to take on that issue. Can I get started now?”

The best way to address the areas of influence and control that you may or may not know about is to ask your boss.  Have a conversation with them and ask then what they expect from you on a daily, weekly basis.  Discuss areas that you think might be yours and ask if they are.  Mention all areas that you can think of and then ask if there are any more.  Let them know what you think your focus should be and get them to validate your thinking or adjust it.  Just ask people what they expect.

To avoid the “what does she do all day” issues, be open and demonstrative about what you are doing each day and week.  Provide reports on progress, either formal and written or just informal verbal updates to your boss and others.  Chat up what you are doing to others without it sounding boastful.  Just drop a few here and there in conversations.  “Did you see the new plotting process I wrote down and placed on the plotter?  Do you think that might help?”  “Did you see the email I sent out about folder setup on the server? Have you noticed any of the concerns that I brought up?”

Be mentioning and reminding and also defining up front, you can get a good feel for the things that people recognize as your job and what they expect from you.

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