So you have been promoted, stepped up or moved to a new company. Firstly, congratulations on the new role. You’ve inherited a team or need to build one and your future success is depending on how well you lead them. Below are some tips to help you consider how you can make your first few months as effective as possible and build great relationships with your team, saving you time and hassle in the long run.
One size doesn’t fit all – unfortunately what works for you may be very different to your employees. Your team is made up of a group of individuals who will not only have different skills but will also have different styles. Being able to appreciate these differences will help you motivate each member of your team and build their engagement.
1:1’s – schedule some time to talk to each member of the team. This should not just be going through their current to do list. Focus on them, what they enjoy, what they find frustrating, how they prefer to operate, what motivates them etc. Not only will they feel listened to, it also gives you some great insights into their style and preferences. It also gives you the opportunity to share a little bit about your approach and what is important to you. For example, how do you like to be kept up to date with projects? Do your team know that? I’m not suggesting you should promise them the world or bend to their every whim, but you can manage some expectations up front about what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.
Stop, Start, Continue – when a new team leader comes in, it is a great opportunity to review processes, responsibilities and workloads. Get three big sheets of paper, a pack of sticky notes and get your team to share all the activities and aspects of being part of the team under the various headings. Don’t use the session to try and solve all the problems there and then. If there are some quick wins then great, but agree some priorities and follow up actions. It gives you the opportunity to quickly get under the skin of frustrations and help the team to take a step back and reflect on what is working well.
Invest in a team effectiveness tool – using Insights Discovery (c) personality profiling tool gives you invaluable insight into the different styles of each of your team members and also holds a mirror up to your management style. It gives you a framework and non-judgemental language to be able to recognise, appreciate and then capitalise on the different strengths of each team member. It can also be great fun and helps bring a team together quickly with lasting benefits as it transfers back into your day to day work. Drop me a message through LinkedIn if you would like to find out more, or experience a profile for yourself.
Team meetings – there may be a culture of team meetings that you feel you have to follow, but take the opportunity in your first few months to review the team meeting process for your team. Take a step back and look at the purpose of the meetings. Ask your team what they are looking for from the meetings. Could the timing be changed? Is the format the best option? Is there another mechanism to communicate? Should there be some standing agenda items that the team are looking for?
Vision and objectives – be overt about where you see the team going and clarify the overall objectives. You also need to articulate what success looks like for you and how you will be assessing performance. This can then also be personalised as part of the 1:1 sessions.
Communicate – whilst the dust is still settling on the upheaval for you of being in a new role and for the team in having a new leader, make sure you keep communicating with the team. This may not be your natural preference but it is important during times of change that not only do people realise your door is open but you regularly check in with all of your team for those who don’t want to approach you directly.
With many studies now identifying line managers as the biggest influence on an individual’s engagement, it is crucial to invest time and energy into building and nurturing your team. You spend too long at work to not make the most of your relationships with your team. All the best in your new role and drop me a note if you want any support in being the best team leader you can be.