Now more than ever, resignations, restructuring, and economic uncertainty are causing shifts in teams and their leaders. Regardless of the reason for the shift in leadership, there is always uncertainty when a new leader joins a pre-existing team. Both the leader and their new team members want to make a strong first impression, set expectations for each other, and develop routines for how they’ll work together.
Consider these five focus areas that can help new leaders make a sustained impact.
Get to know the team on a personal level and gain connections to direct reports. Discover their preferences, how they interact and collaborate, and what they value.
Learn the team’s history to understand how and why the team was established, what the current state of the relationships are, and how the team has adapted.
Establish mutual expectations. Define what is expected of each team member, clarify guidelines, and understand each person’s role. Give team member’s an opportunity to state what they expect of you as a leader, and how you can best support their growth.
Create agreements for working together, including operating principles or team norms to ensure clarity and a common language. Define how team members hold each other accountable, identify issues that need to be addressed, and align work habits to the team’s primary goals for achieving high performance.
Set a game plan for moving forward. Bring the team together regularly to increase cohesion, work through performance adjustments, and measure progress.
With focus on these five areas, new team leaders can develop trusting relationships and fine tune their team.