All new leaders face numerous challenges when first stepping into their role. They have to build trust with their team and address the concerns of senior leadership, all without the benefit of experience. As a new leader, you must be armed with tools to lead each team member, no matter their starting point.
Transitions are especially challenging if your new team is only somewhat successful. Modest levels of productivity can mask the need for urgent change and improvement. When a team thinks they are doing fine but senior leaders are unhappy, linking the two of them gets tricky.
“That’s the way we’ve always done it,” seems to be the battle cry of mediocre teams. If not dealt with in a careful, compassionate, and thoughtful manner, this sentiment will likely reappear at the most inopportune times. That’s why it’s so critical for you to know that moving a mediocre team forward may require a set of strategies and skills applied with specific attention and awareness.
Laying the Foundation for Trust
Doing one’s homework prior to accepting a leadership role is an absolute. Before you step into a new position, make sure to research your team and its members. A bit of due diligence and open ears go a long way to help you understand team perceptions of the present situation.
Gathering feedback from your team about their own performance is especially critical when senior leaders have a completely different perception of the team’s performance. Connecting these dots is in the interest of all parties to address any angst straightaway. The longer stakeholders remain in fundamental conflict over the perceived productivity or contributions of a team, the more difficult it will be to move that group forward in a positive way.
Establishing Shared Perceptions and Purpose
After listening to senior leaders and your team members, your responsibility as a new leader is to combine these competing perceptions into a plan for forward-progress. Assisted by data and the organization’s goals, you have an opportunity to create a fresh start for everyone involved.
As powerful as the pull toward immediately addressing productivity can be, it is important to remember that positive relationships are the cornerstone for future success. Prioritizing the health, well-being, and self-esteem of your new team is a solid strategy for leaders facing this unique situation.
By returning to the basics, you can help modest performers attain a new level of achievement. After all, your fresh start is their fresh start too. And, let’s face it, everyone wants to be on a winning team. When you enter a new role, the slate is wiped clean and everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.
Helping your team see the outcome of their collective efforts builds allies, improves productivity, boosts performances, and greatly affects workplace culture. These are the hallmarks of successful teams and leaders.
Learn how you can start transforming your workplace culture today. Download our free resource: The Innovative Leader’s Guide to Transforming Company Culture…Starting with Yourself
Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.