Business Advice

5 things all new managers should do to successfully lead their teams

- October 20, 2022 3 MIN READ

Leadership positions can take some time to settle into, especially when you’re new to the business or to management roles in general (congrats on the promotion!). Here are five things all new managers should do in their first month on the job to make their leadership journey a success, according to high performance coach, Di Kenyon.

So, you’ve landed the job of your dreams as a senior manager, or hired your first senior leader to help guide your team – what to do next?

The pressure will start and it may come from the places that you least expected. People will want to see what you have got and what you will bring to the role. Some will test you, some will support you – but have no doubt, all will be watching you.

The people above you will want to see progress, results and plans. They may also want to see change, depending on the starting position. They will expect to see problems addressed; they will expect you to see the problems that they see. Others in your team will watch for a very different reason – they will want to know how is this change going to affect them.

These expectations may make you tempted to start ‘doing stuff’, and this may mean making changes and doing it fast.

Two business women talking in office

5 things all new managers should do in their first month

Before you start making vast changes that affect the rest of your team, it’s important to get to know them and the business first.

Here are five things you’d be wise to do in your first month on the job that will make your appointment to the management role a success for yourself and your team.

Tip 1: Slow down and breathe

There will be time to deal with the issues. When it feels like you don’t, think again. Back yourself and form your own opinions. You have been hired for a reason and unless you fudged your own CV, you have all the skills and resources to do this job.

So before you take any actions, assess the current situation and really look at what you have inherited.

Tip 2: Get to know your team

Spend time wandering around, having one-on-one conversations with people on your team. Find out what they think and what makes them tick; ask them about the business.

It is amazing how engaged people can be when you ask – and then truly listen and care about what they think – and value their opinions.

This is 101 rapport-building and if you want the best from your team, you need to start here.

Tip 3: Don’t sit in front of the computer

Repeat the above exercise with customers, if appropriate. Get out and talk to as many as you can. Show yourself and let them get to know you.

It is an opportunity to get valuable feedback and really find out what is important to them, what you or the business are doing well, and what they don’t like.

Supportive boss with hand on employee's shoulder

Tip 4: Keep listening (and talking)

Talk to anyone who will listen. Many different vantage points and opinions will give you valuable feedback on what is going well and what is not going so well. Having learned the term ‘Management by Wandering Around’ (MBWA), I cannot tell you how valuable this is and how much real information you will hear.

Not only are you connecting with the people that are the lifeblood of the company and finding out what makes them tick, you are building rapport and trust.

You will, by now, have discarded all of the information you were told at interview. You have gathered your own information.

Tip 5: Now for some action

Your ‘dumb’ questions are enabling you to build up your own SWOT analysis:

  • What are we good at?
  • Where are we weak?
  • Where are the opportunities?
  • What are the threats?
  • Who are our good people?
  • Who’s struggling?

What follows is a well thought-out list of what your priorities will be during your first few months ahead.

Then, communicate your findings to the key stakeholders and give them the opportunity to challenge your assumptions. They need to understand what you are trying to achieve so they can support your aspirations and decisions.

Get the first 30 days right and you will achieve more in your first few months and be ready for your first review. All because you took the time to ask, and listened to the people that can make it work.

Article updated for 2022.

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