Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In this week's episode, we're talking about two common concerns for new leaders. First, we'll talk about what to do (and not to do) in your first 90 days in a new team. Then, we'll cover how to move from being reactive to being proactive. You will set a solid foundation for your new team if you can get these two things right as a new leader.
Q: What should I do in my first 90 days with a new team?
Your first priority as a leader is to learn about your team, not promote yourself. I have seen many new managers talk too much about their background and achievement initially. Your goal should be to gain information so that you can build a winning strategy. My recommendation is to always start with a town-hall-style meeting.
After a brief introduction, ask questions designed to help you better understand the team's culture:
What are you proud of that this group does particularly well?
What have been the significant accomplishments over the last year?
What are the current goals that you all have established?
What activities would you like to pursue, but you haven't found the time?
What do you think we should stop doing?
Your goal is to solicit input. This takes a bit of courage, but the feedback you gain will say a lot about your team's situation and needs. Try asking your team this question: "At the end of my time as manager of this group, what would you like to you say that I did?" It's a good question that will help your team members focus on identifying developmental and organizational needs. Listen and take notes without commenting or judging.
Q: Should I be reactive or proactive as a leader?
Leaders need to be proactive, not just reactive. If you spend all of your time trying to put out fires, you aren't using your time effectively. Proactive leaders influence the future and form the right alliances to advance their causes.
Sometimes reactive management is necessary in a crisis, but it creates problems within a business when it becomes the norm!
So how do we become more proactive in our leadership?
1. Seek out the root of problems.
2. Be diligent with Planning
3. Understand your team's strengths and weaknesses
Check out the book The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. This book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to be a leader or is entering a leadership position. As you read, take notes of where you think your strengths and weaknesses are. If an area is a weakness, make sure that you note 3 things you can do to take action on that area throughout your week.
Practice being proactive. Think about some areas where you have had to take a reactive approach over the last quarter. Were any of the problems repeated? If you have faced a problem in the past, you should go beyond just responding to it and develop a way to prevent it from happening again. If it is impossible to avoid, think about what you can do to recognize it more quickly. Come up with one regular action step you can take to guard against that specific problem and put it into your weekly routine.
Conduct a SWOT analysis with your team to better understand your team's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. If you need help with this, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line SWOT to set up a free 30-minute training.