CONGRATULATIONS!

You just landed your first role as a leader.

woman wearing dark red collared blouse sitting at an office desk raises a fist while shouting yes

Then reality hits.

You've never supervised other people before and the fear sets in.

clip from Jurassic Park movie, girl with a terrified expression and hand shaking as she holds a spoon of jello

It's natural to be both excited and nervous. And chances are your new team is feeling the same way. But with a little preparation and intentional actions, you can start off like a seasoned leader. Set up your team for success from day one by following 5 simple tips.

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Tip #1 : Be confident and enthusiastic

Confidence is everything. Confidence is what makes that simple white tee and jeans look good.

-- Ciara

💡 Giving into negative feelings can sabotage your first day as a leader. Watch this video to feel inspired. 👉🏽

Boost your confidence and your team's morale by:

  • wearing something that makes you feel powerful and is appropriate for your workplace and new role.

  • focusing on the possibilities, hopes, and excitement that come with new beginnings.

  • modeling the qualities you want to seein your team.

  • doing something special for your employees, such as food or a fun team building activity.

woman who is black with long braids, smiling with arms folded, standing in front of a whiteboard with faint writing

Tip #2 : Have a team meeting

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.

-- Michael Jordan

4 people standing around a table with a tablet, laptop and coffee cups, smiling and looking engaged in conversation, Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Gathering the group on your first day, even if it's just a quick stand-up or Zoom meeting, helps set the tone for your leadership. Lay a solid foundation for being seen as a leader and for working together by:

  • Sharing your background and experience and letting your team do the same.

  • Communicating your vision, expectations, and preferences.

  • Asking about their hopes and fears regarding the change.

  • Setting and sharing communication norms (methods, frequency, timeliness, and boundaries).

⚡Test your knowledge!

Shayan is a brand new manager at a clothing store and is about to start the team meeting.

Their district manager said the store's team members use their personal social media accounts to communicate with each other, resulting in a lot of missed messages, late responses, people feeling like they are always "at work", and the boss being excluded from important information.

Quiz

Which communication norms should Shayan recommend in their first team meeting? Select all that apply.

Tip #3 : Schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.

-- Phil Jackson

Getting exclusive sessions on your calendar will show your team that you see them as individuals. Gain insights on their work, needs, and desires by asking:

  • What are their strengths? What are they proud of?

  • What do they enjoy about their work?

  • What challenges are they facing?

  • What are their fears and concerns?

  • What are their career goals?

  • How do they prefer to receive feedback, both positive and negative?

Tip #4 : Request a meeting with your boss

Success is the sum of small efforts — repeated day in and day out.

-- Robert Collier

Get on your manager's calendar as quickly as possible. Ensure that yo're clear on the expectations and supports of your new role by asking:

  • What specific deliverables and outcomes are you responsible for?

  • What will success look like at key intervals (1, 3, 6 and 12 months)?

  • What type of support will they provide to you?

  • What professional development opportunities are available to support you in your new role?

💡 This video demonstrates a simple way to document meetings, which ensures everyone is clear on any decisions made, actions to be taken, and issues to be addressed. 👇🏽

Tip #5 : Prioritize relationships over tasks

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.

While some tasks will still need to be done on your first day, great leaders recognize that business goals are met by their employees. Instead of hiding out in your office, put your team members at the top of your list by:

  • Showing care and interest in your team members as people.

  • Being authentic and sincere.

  • Asking questions. After all, employees are the experts on their jobs.

  • Listening for understanding and insights.

  • Observing relationships, processes, and systems in action.

  • Acting upon what you learn.

  • Recognizing employees frequently and publicly for their contributions.

⚡Test your knowledge!

Today is Xiomara's first day as a coffee shop shift manager. She notices how Tony, one of the baristas, successfully kept his cool while handling a rude and demanding customer, all without Xiomara's help.

Quiz

What would be a good way for Xiomara to publicly recognize Tony for his great work? Select all that apply.

Take Action

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This Byte has been authored by

DW

Dawn Wiley

Learning and Development