It’s tempting to want to make your mark when you begin leading a team. From experience, I can tell you it’s usually the worst thing you could do. To the team members, it feels invasive, and they resent it. It’s an action that could take months to recover from.
So, what should you do when you start leading a new team? Here are my top six recommendations.
1. Connect and engage with your people.
Get to know them, understand them and what makes them tick. Discover what’s important to them and how they like to be led. Ask what they need from a leader and what gets the best out of them.
Listen to your team, your executives, stakeholders, and clients or consumers. Your first 30 days should be a time of information gathering so you have all the facts you need when it’s time to think about strategies.
3. Don’t try to set a strategy straight away.
See what’s in place, what’s working and what’s not. Look for opportunities to improve. Ask the team what they believe is working and what could be done better or differently.
It’s vital to have their involvement in setting strategy so you also gain their engagement.
4. Create a Psychologically Safe culture of openness and authenticity.
Google’s Project Aristotle was a detailed study on what makes a great team. They found a common factor in the highest performing teams: In each team, the members felt psychologically safe. Psychological safety means members feel safe and secure enough to share ideas, take risks and show their vulnerabilities.
How can you create a psychologically safe culture?
- Invite engagement and ensure people speak up and take risks.
- Stop the blame game. If something goes wrong, no person is held to be at fault.
- Make failure a positive by accepting it as normal and looking for the lessons within it.
- Encourage people to ask for help when they need it.
- Be responsive.
5. Manage expectations.
Change is unsettling and your new team will want the reassurance of the familiar. Confirm the team priorities and explain your expectations for the period ahead. Explain that you intend to get to know people and processes before working with them to make improvements.
6. Embed good habits.
You are a role model for your team. It’s vital to model the habits and behaviours you want the team to adopt. Watch your own performance as well as the performance of your team and intervene with feedback to embed good habits. Praise works wonders, even for yourself.
The first 30 days of leading a new team is exciting and challenging. You’ll need to pay close attention to your own performance to achieve the specific goals you’re aiming for. You will also need to hold yourself accountable for the results. Accelerate your transformation as a leader and build teams that make a difference. With the support of Executive Coaching, this period could be the start of an exciting career journey for you. I’d love to offer my support for your career development so let’s chat about how I can help.
Before I go, let me ask you this. What’s the first thing you would do when you start leading a new team?