You’ve landed your new leadership role, now what? One thing’s for sure, you don’t want to approach your team like the big bad wolf; ready to disrupt the norm and do things your way. If you’re looking for the quickest way for your team shut down and rebel, then start huffing and puffing. However, if you want to show your new team that you care about their needs, feedback, and how you can serve them best, you must do these 17 things in the first 60 days of your new leadership role.
Introduce yourself… who you really are
Telling your team how qualified you are and presenting your resume to them won’t help them get to know you. Your accomplishments are great, but your new team wants and needs to know you as a person first. Humanize your introduction by telling those interesting bits about you that they weren’t expecting. Let them know that you’re a huge Michael Jackson fan, that you have an adorable Shih Tzu who knows how to clap, and that while fitness is important to you, cake is your weakness. These are a few things I like to share about myself so that those I work with see me as a person, just like them. Humanizing your introduction is also more welcoming for the team. Once they see that you aren’t focused on yourself and cracking the whip, your team will become more inclined to connect with you.
Ask many questions
Amazing things happen from a place of curiosity. Don’t focus on talking so much when you start your new role. Instead, ask as many questions as you can as often as possible. Asking questions helps your team feel heard. You’ll also learn so much more about them and what’s really happening in the workplace.
Not sure what questions to ask your team to get honest feedback? Get 37 engaging questions in this Free Toolkit!
Build meaningful connections
The relationship you establish and maintain with your team is the groundwork for successful employee engagement. There isn’t a magical equation for connecting with employees. Simply be human and show your care for them as humans also. Prioritize time to check on them, ask how they’re doing, include them in important decisions. The simple things that are often forgotten in busy work life are the same things that show your team that you do care about them as people.
Actively get feedback and suggestions
Have regular and candid conversations with your team, individually and collectively. Your employees need to feel welcomed and encouraged to share their feedback, ideas, and suggestions. Employees see and hear what management may not and in many cases, they can offer better insight on what the best approach may be to fix certain problems. By creating an open feedback dynamic, you’ll become more informed of the good, the bad, and the ugly of what’s occurring in your workplace.
There is no a magical equation for connecting with employees. Simply be human & show your care for them as humans also. It’s the groundwork for successful #EmployeeEngagement
Expose assumptions & norms
Teams operate by certain behaviors, practices, and habits in the workplace, which naturally become the norm for doing things. For example, if there are no defined expectations for how employee conflict should be handled or how to go about making decisions as a team, people will resort to the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” solution. Identify what assumptions your team has been operating by. If those assumed behaviors and habits are not healthy for the team and culture, it’s time to establish some new norms.
Communicate & document expectations
After you’ve addressed assumptions and norms, make sure the new expectations for your team are clearly communicated and documented. It’s important that everyone is on the same page and understands how things will be done going forward.
Hold people accountable
Holding employees accountable allows them to take ownership of their responsibilities. Believe it or not, accountability is a very important component to employee engagement. When your team has a sense of ownership in their work, they’re more motivated in what they do. This also shifts your culture from one of excuses to one of team accountability.
Do you know your leadership style? Complete the Leadership Style questionnaire in this Free Toolkit to find out!
Have productive meetings
Meetings are necessary in many cases but if they aren’t productive, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. A good practice is providing a meeting agenda to your employees a few days prior to meeting. This provides focus and eliminates the scattered thoughts once everyone is gathered. Also, be mindful to respect everyone’s time and ensure that the meeting does not go over the intended and scheduled time frame.
Take employee needs seriously
Have conversations with each employee about their needs and make tending to those needs a (non-negotiable) part of your regular leadership practices. Understanding each of your employee’s needs will help you connect with them more effectively and also gives you an individual blueprint of how you can keep them engaged.
Execute on employee requests
The politician approach doesn’t work well in leadership. In other words, don’t come in making promises to give your team what they’re asking for just to win them over. Broken promises and unrealistic expectations will lead to broken connections. Take the time to gather employee requests, discuss them, set appropriate expectations for them, and – most importantly – deliver on those expectations.
Stay consistent with follow up
Many leaders attempt to engage their team and end up falling short because they forget one thing, consistency. You must be very clear on what you’re aiming to achieve with employee engagement and be very consistent with your actions. You can stay consistent by planning your engagement efforts with over 50 activities & gestures + planner templates in this Employee Engagement Planning Packet!
Listen more, speak less
Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World isn’t just for selling. Using his concept of social selling is also a great way to train yourself to listen more. Gary’s phrase “jab, jab, jab, right hook” stands for give, give, give, then ask. It’s an awesome approach for selling, but I find it very fitting in communication as well. When I ask questions or speak with others, I use the same concept as “listen, listen, listen, then speak”.
Look for coaching opportunities
When employee mistakes occur, use them as coaching and teaching opportunities. Coaching provides clarity and direction for reaching goals, as well as development opportunity. You can help employees reach professional development goals by supporting and coaching them on a regular basis.
Model the behavior you want to see
Your team will do what you do, not what you say. When your team witnesses how you carry yourself, address conflict and interact with others, they are more inclined to do the same. However, if you tell them to be professional and show teamwork without demonstrating that as well, they’ll view you as a dictator, not a leader.
Your accomplishments are great, but your team wants and needs to know you as a person first. Humanize yourself.
Display and enforce respect
Don’t fall into the trap of the power trip. Focus on serving your team and being reliable for them above all. Your ability to do that consistently and well will gain their respect. Respect is very important but in order to enforce respect among your team, you must give it first.
Learn the process
In the first 60 days of your new leadership role, make it a priority to learn the workflow processes of your team. Sit with them individually and meet with them as a team so that you are clear on what they do daily. This gives you firsthand visibility into what may or may not be working and allows employees to share their thoughts about the processes as well. Take this a step further by also learning the processes of other departments that have to work with your team. The more you know about what tasks impact your team’s performance quality, the better.
Be clear on goals
When you understand the goals set for the team, you’re able to lead them in the right direction to reach them. Clearly articulate performance expectations for your team and support them as they’re reaching those goals as well.