What to do in your First 90 Days as a New Manager or Team leader
In your organization, a management position has opened up. You've been assigned the task of leading a project or you've just being promoted to lead a team or department. You're very smart and great at what you do, but you realize you're playing a different game now because your job description now includes dealing with people; people you are responsible for. You have to think in terms of leading your team from a place of influence and not authority, force, manipulation or position.
Here are some tips and ideas to help you navigate your new assignment.
1. Get to know everyone on the team informally..beyond their names and responsibilities, you have to get to understand them and connect with them. It's all about relationships. Your success as a manager will depend more on your relationship with your team than your technical or functional skills. What do they like, what's their personality like, what are their strengths, weaknesses, and what's going on with them? This way you can always deal with each person appropriately, assign them the right responsibilities, and communicate with them in a way they understand. When you understand your team members, you will be proactive and not reactive when they behave in a certain way. When you focus on relating with your team, you will also be able to meet their needs. Your team members will not care about how much you know but will be more concerned with how much you care about them. Your success as a manager will depend more on your relationship with your team than your technical or functional skills.
2. Clarify and communicate regularly the vision, goals and expectations of the team. Don't leave anyone in the dark.
3. Make sure procedures and systems are in place, job roles and responsibilities are clear, and be sure to re-enforce them regularly. Decide up front that you never want to place blame on anyone when something goes wrong. This is where systems come in and it means you have to make sure your procedures are up to date, and that expectations are always clear and communicated.
4. Don't have boring meetings. If you don't have a reason to hold a meeting don't. Your meeting agendas should line up with the vision and goals of the team...the vision that everyone has bought into. Also, allow others to lead the meetings and change things up occasionally by facilitating a teaching session, hosting a recognition lunch or dinner, or scheduling a non work related activity.
5. Be a connector. Be open and vulnerable and regularly connect with each team member as appropriate. Go to where they are and where they perform their work function (e.g lab, plant), leave your office door open, slow down, go sit in their offices to chat. Only when you connect with your team members will they be motivated and inspired to take action. They will also know that you care and that you're just not the boss. I believe in this day and age, being a "boss" is old school.
6. Ask questions and listen for feedback, complaints and what's not being said so that you can take appropriate action.
7. Become a navigator. Develop the skill of taking your team from where they are to where they need to be; in terms of their skills, their goals, completing their assignments and achieving the team goals. Course correct when necessary and look out for potential problems and obstacles so that you can mitigate them.
8. Invest in your personal and leadership development. Managing and leading a team requires a new set of skills and you need to continue to learn, grow and improve in this area. Read books, attend classes, get a mentor or coach, and network with other leaders.
I could go on and on but I'll leave you with these eight tips. Do you find them helpful? If you want more tips and ideas, download 10 Strategies to Motivate and Engage your Team for Results here.
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Leadership Success Coach, Trainer, Facilitator