Congratulations! You’ve just been promoted or have been recognized as a new leader in your organization! What’s next?
Unfortunately, in most cases with American corporate culture and a new leader, you have been selected because you’ve exemplified high performance in your role. While high performance is of high value, it is not necessarily indicative of the ability to collect and nurture followers. There’s a expansive gap between ‘doing’ and being a leader, and the faster you acclimate to this new paradigm, the more exponential your success. Here are five simple tips that will jumpstart your progress in becoming a strong leader:
5 PRACTICAL THINGS A NEW LEADER CAN DO RIGHT AWAY
I. Meet with every stakeholder and every direct report one on one.
- Not only do you want to introduce yourself, you want to set a tone and foundation for your relationship. Be the first one to reach out in all directions and pave the path for future communications.
- Ask about their past experience with their prior leader, what worked well, and what they’d like to be different. This will help you gather crucial information to enable you and your team to accelerate results.
II. Set clear expectations with stakeholders and direct reports.
- Explain your leadership style, your preferred modes of communication and how you will hold people accountable. Are you a self-proclaimed micromanager? Do you prefer texts for emergencies rather than a phone call? What does it mean if your door is closed? What can they expect if they’ve made a mistake and need a course correction?
III. Create a 100-day plan and communicate it to your team.
- What do you want to achieve as a leader for your team within the first 3+ months? Most people with new leaders have questions and anxiety about what will be different for them. They want to contribute in a meaningful way and they want to know how to do it most effectively. By communicating a plan, a vision, and objectives you want to achieve as their leader, they’ll be able to align more successfully. You’ll still need to communicate one on one to ensure they know specifically how they contribute individually, but they’ll all have the same target.
IV. Manage up to your leader.
- Ensure you have the same expectations and vision conversations with your leader so that expectations are clear and no one gets blindsided. There’s nothing worse than continuously changing courses and plans with your team because upper management didn’t buy into your ideas.
V. Get to know your people.
- People are not robots put in place to achieve results. Personal lives, families, emotions, preferences, personalities and needs are also part of their picture. Furthermore, everyone is different and it takes time to find out what’s important to each of them. The better you know your people, the more effective leader you can be. In addition, when you show genuine interest to your team, employee engagement will increase.
- Even if you are not the most warm and fuzzy leader, do some small things to show your people you care about them. Express sympathy when they lose a loved one, congratulate them on a job well done, or check in occasionally just to see how it’s going. While small things cost very little, but have huge payoffs in the end.
Contact us if you want help accelerating your success as a new leader!
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