It can be daunting stepping into a role as a new team leader, but it’s an ideal opportunity to make a positive impact on your team and organization where you otherwise couldn’t. When starting this new endeavor, it’s essential to set the tone right from the onset. Here we have compiled seven strategies leaders should act on from the get-go when starting a new role with new influence.
1. Define and Communicate the Team’s Purpose
Emphasizing the important role of understanding and developing a team’s purpose is essential for leadership development. When your team feels that there is a collective vision and upstanding values that they therefore endorse by being a member of the company, they are more inclined to perform their best. This means that it’s not only about identifying the purpose – this is just the starting point. Leaders need to be putting effort into actioning it and bringing it to life.
When employees see value and feel fulfilled by their work, motivation levels soar and drive success.
Inclusiveness and collaboration in the workplace allow for a sense of safety, where members can be themselves and share ideas without fear of judgement. Every team member should be involved in the discussion of creating this purpose or taking steps towards it – in other words, a top-down approach.
A clear purpose provides direction. Engage with your team in meaningful conversations to ensure everyone understands and is aligned with the team’s mission. Co-creating an action plan also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment. Consider executive coaching services to bring purpose and direction to your people.
2. Cultivate Genuine Relationships
Whether you are new to the company or recently promoted, it’s important to show genuine curiosity and active listening skills when engaging with your new team members. Your people are not just resources and means to success, they are unique, and all have individual strengths that can be leaned into. Leaders should take the time to get to know their team and determine the most effective way to cultivate success from each of them. Be keen to understand the roles that they play and the needs they have! Find their strengths, their weaknesses, and what is important to them. By building rapport and trust with your team, new leaders can in turn be vulnerable with them.
When you take the time to truly understand your team members on a personal and professional level, it will assist in establishing trust. Show genuine interest in their lives, which will make them feel valued and seen. Fostering a two-way street of understanding and compassion only helps to build these genuine connections that are so important in the workplace.
3. Actively Listen and Build a Vision
Starting your new leadership journey begins with active listening. Without this skill, understanding your team and what makes the dynamic work becomes much more difficult and can lead to misunderstandings. It builds the foundation for mutual respect and effective collaboration. When there is mutual respect, connections become easier to create and maintain. This goes for relationships between team members, but also branches out into the relationships that can be created between you and your stakeholders.
Having these connections allows for proper communication, honesty, and creativity. When team members aren’t harboring any negativity towards sharing their ideas and perspectives, they can do just that! Having concrete values and a collaborative vision is essential to strong teamwork because it provides the baseline for everyone to follow happily and willingly. Then, as a team, you can begin to refine the vision and opportunities that the future holds. When people can visualize a plan for the future and a means to success, identifying long-term opportunities and deliverables becomes second nature.
4. Foster a Transparent Team Culture
Coming into the position of new team leader can be scary. The group has already established themselves, gotten to know one another, and fallen into routines that they might not see the point in altering. The new team leader is the stranger being added to the mix. But, just because there is an existing equilibrium doesn’t mean that you can’t use what you know to better the situation and efficiency of everyone!
Take the time to invest in each member of the team as individuals and find out what style of leadership works best for them. Learn about their interests, hobbies and how they work. Building this sense of camaraderie is essential to creating strong connections, which becomes the foundation for high performance and therefore success.
One tip we would give leaders joining a new team would be – communicate, communicate, communicate. Beyond setting goals, defining values, norms, and expectations there needs to be a level of trust and openness that will encourage conversation and brainstorming. These open communication lines will help avoid misunderstandings, clarify objectives, and strengthen the team’s cohesion. You will be happy with your team’s commitment, and they will in turn be willing to share new perspectives with you.
5. Understand the Landscape
Listen, observe, and learn. A team is just that – a team! It’s not all you. Working together to understand priorities, expectations, and the general landscape within which you will be operating together is key for driving success. When you and your team gain this clarity together, you can turn your focus to the impactful objectives at hand – and be content with the fact that everyone is on the same page.
Stepping back and having a wide-angled view of the team and the landscape that surrounds it will further build relationships that are built on trust.
The foundation for success lies in forging trust-centric relationships and appreciating the context in which decisions are made, which is a skill that executive coaching services can provide. This approach portrays leaders as compassionate, proactive, and influential in their teams. You know what your team needs, and you have the means to provide them with it.
6. Encourage Feedback and Innovation
An effective leader recognizes that their team’s collective intelligence often surpasses the wisdom of a single individual. Through being receptive to feedback and attempting to foster this culture of openness, leaders can carve a path for genuine collaboration and learning. In such healthy environments, team members become empowered to voice their unique perspectives, challenge the existing status quo and introduce fresh viewpoints.
Open communication is the catalyst for innovation. When team members feel their opinions are valued and desired, they are more likely to share solutions and approaches to challenges that others may not consider. View your team members as individuals who each bring varied experiences and skills to the table! This method of thinking can lead to breakthrough ideas and solutions that the rest of the team can grow and refine through collaboration.
In essence, the more willing a new leader is to listen and adapt, the more enhanced a team’s problem-solving abilities become. The workplace culture becomes one of linear growth, adaptability, and mutual respect.
7. Celebrate Small Wins
Recognizing and celebrating both individual and team achievements, no matter how small, is one of the most impactful things a new team leader can do. When a team member goes above and beyond for the team, it’s easy to give them credit and appreciation. What new leaders need to be acting on are the smaller, everyday wins that otherwise would go unnoticed. Something that may seem small, or insignificant is still worthy of being celebrated This not only boosts morale but also reinforces positive behavior and outcomes. People love to be patted on the back – especially when they feel that they have done a good job! These small methods of empowerment can lift your team and encourage them to chase those goals in the future.
Emphasizing efforts creates a positive work environment where team members feel appreciated and motivated. By celebrating these milestones, leaders prove that they value the hard work and diligence of their people, sending a clear message that every contribution matters – no matter how small. Executive coaching services help leaders like yu strengthen the team’s self-esteem and give individuals further confidence in their abilities.
It’s not always easy for us to recognize when we have succeeded, especially with so many other tasks and goals that seem so much bigger. Additionally, when team members see their peers being recognized, it establishes a blueprint, prompting others to replicate those positive behaviors and outcomes in hopes of their own success. Consistent acknowledgment of accomplishments can be a helpful, and strategic tool for new leaders hoping to increase morale and purpose.
Participating in a Leadership Development Program is one way to fast track your team to a place where everyone is comfortable being their true selves and upholding the values they believe in. Download our guide “How to Design a Leadership Development Program” here.