In my previous post, I discussed two of my top tips for leading new teams. First, it’s important to remember that when you begin leading a new team, you have to start over in terms of building relationships and earning respect. And second, it’s important to invest your time in your new team. Ask their opinions. Meet with each person. Start a lunch and learn group. Do what it takes to get to know and connect with your new team.
Today, I want to talk about three additional recommendations for leaders leading a new team.
3. Learn from your team.
No matter how much you know about your area of expertise, your teammates are your teachers! Ask questions and listen like crazy! You don’t have to agree or solve any issues immediately. You are in the learning stage. Ask them to teach you.
4. Remember, you have six months!
John Maxwell teaches us that the first six months “what” we say is very important, and people will follow based on that. However in the next six months, people are looking for what the leader does. So, if you’re a new leader, you’ve got a free ride of respect for the first six months; after that, your team will look for action and performance.
5. Make your own evaluations.
Because leaders have different leadership styles, they attract and connect differently to followers. Likewise, people perform differently for different leaders. That’s why you should never allow the former leader to give you his or her assessment of each teammate’s abilities. As the new leader, you will need to quickly assess on your own. A current-day problem employee may become a star performer under a new leader.
I have been fortunate to be a new incoming leader for about three new teams in my career, and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the outcome in all of them. Each had emerging leaders ready to be challenged and each saw record company growth. As a new leader, remember that you can make a difference, but you must make it through your team.