Thank you for joining the Champion forum podcast with Jeff Hancher! In this week’s episode, Jeff addresses how to take on a new leadership position. Anytime you are embracing a new position of leadership, it is important to quickly establish yourself as someone your team members can rely on and trust.
In this episode, Jeff gives four key steps new leaders need to follow, whether it is your first time leading or you are an experienced leader taking over a new team. These tips are simple and actionable, and following them will help you gain the trust and respect of your new team members.
1. Realize that you are no longer an individual contributor.
The vision for what your team needs to accomplish is too big for you to accomplish on your own.
Attempting to do everything yourself will lead to frustration and burnout. Leaders need to be willing to give up producing their own individual results and instead focus on empowering their team members to each contribute to the goal.
Not everyone on your team will be able to perform as well as you did when you were in their position. That is OK.
Teach, guide, and develop your team members to do their tasks as well as you can. Aim to reproduce yourself in your team members.
Q: If you had to set a percentage, how much of your day should be spent personally driving results and how much of it should be spent doing your leadership tasks? How can you determine whether a task should be delegated or not?
2. Set expectations early
Setting expectations early allows the team to avoid potential problems or conflicts due to lack of clarity.
As a new leader, you and your team must define what you expect of each other, clarify what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and understand each person’s roles.
Once the expectations are delivered be sure to hold everyone accountable to them.
Once you tell your team members what they expect from you, be consistent and follow through every day. Showing your team what they can expect from you creates a way for you to deposit into your people.
Q: If you asked your team what your expectations are for your team, what would they say? What can you do when you delegate a task and someone fails to meet your expectations or standards?
3. Create a buzz
Your new team needs to get a picture of your personality and leadership style. One way to do that quickly is by doing something dramatic that gets their attention.
Do something that lines up with your personality. You could consider:
Looking for an administrative task that everyone hates to do that doesn’t add value and remove it.
Change up the office environment with fresh paint, art, decorations, or furnishings.
Instituting a new, fun tradition (Motivation Monday) to keep people inspired throughout the week.
Q: Have you ever had a leader who created a buzz? How did it affect your opinion of the leader? How did it affect your work ethic? What other ways could a new leader help his staff get to know him better?
4. Be the leader that your individual people need.
Every person on your new team has a different personality style. Leading each of them the same way can be dangerous and ineffective.
Consider the way that your people prefer to communicate, the goals they have, and their individual potential.
Be open to receiving both criticism and compliments. Do not allow yourself to surround yourself with people who praise you while ignoring or being apathetic toward people who express their concerns.
Ask your team members: “What do you need from me that I’m not giving you?”
Q: What are the challenges associated with tailoring the way you lead each person on your team? Why do you think leaders shy away from asking others to tell them what they are doing wrong or what they need to improve?
Get your free copy of Jeff’s powerpoint on setting expectations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject SETTING EXPECTATIONS. Someone from our team will be sure that you get a copy of it.
Pick 2-3 members of your team and ask them, “What do you need from me that I’m not giving you?” If you are not currently leading a team, work with your manager to come up with a version of this question to ask your customers. You are never too important or unimportant to seek out feedback!
Whether you have recently taken on a new leadership position or not, evaluate the expectations you have for your team. brainstorm a list of expectations if you do not have one already. Pick the four expectations that you feel are the least clear to your team. Pick one to focus on enforcing more strictly each week over the next month and reestablish them as non-negotiable expectations.