What’s the number one item that you should have in your guest bathroom? According to Real Simple, the answer is a plunger. It’s certainly not what I would have put at the top of the list but it makes sense: it’s something that could become necessary and it’s the most embarrassing thing to ask for. The magazine recommends that you preempt any awkwardness and just have it there from the start.

I think about what is the equivalent to the plunger for new employees. Give them a list of key colleagues (preferably with a picture and an office layout map). Reintroduce them at meetings to preclude a lapse of memory of who’s who, especially in this time of remote meetings where every square looks the same. Share office norms such as typical attire, arrival/departure times and time off procedures so they don’t stand out or need to ask.

We’ve all been in a situation where having an accessible plunger was a blessing. Treat your new employees with the same care as you treat your guests and proactively provide them with the tools they may need before they sheepishly have to ask for them.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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