Emerging Leaders face a difficult transition from individual contributor to leading and managing for the first time. Often, the training that they receive from their organization is limited or restricted by tight budgets, etc. Here are some good solid Best Practices for how to get some momentum building with a new team during your first weeks as a new manager or leader….
One of the first things you are going to want to do is to build a foundation for communication and collaboration with the members of your team. How do you go about that, you ask? Easy, you start by going first and telling your teammates that as their leader you want to ensure the team’s success and ensure their personal success simultaneously. You need to let them know that you don’t have all of the answers and that you and the team are going to go on a journey of discovery. First, you’re all going to discover who you are and what you want to accomplish, and then you’re going to set about making it happen by building relationships that can bear the weight of truth. Implement a “No B-S” rule for your team, and require that every member of the team commit to building long-term relationships based on honesty, candor, and trust.
That’s a good start. Then you’ve got to go first again, and let the team know that you’re committed to becoming a great leader, but have a lot to learn and that you will need, no, make that REQUIRE their constructive criticism. Give your team permission to tell you when you’ve made a mistake, and then promise them that you’ll never take it personally or try to take retribution on a teammate who calls out your mistakes. Rather, you’ll take their criticism to heart and use it to improve yourself. When you get good, candid feedback about mistakes, you’ll be one step closer to solving them or preventing them from recurring. By offering yourself up for criticism, you will encourage your team to challenge you to become your best self. That will help you to learn quickly and to build trust into your relationships quickly, provided that you keep your word and take the criticism constructively. Your relationships will strengthen each time you allow your team to challenge you by noticing any potential areas for improvement in your conduct and decision making. Nothing fuels the building of trust like vulnerability and open transparency.
Another step in a positive direction would be to begin to build a culture where dialogue around issues and solutions is strongly encouraged. Become a great listener, and encourage/challenge your team to try to get every member of the team engaged and contributing their best ideas, not just the team members with the louder voices. Invite the quiet team members into the discussion by saying something like; “Elise, I know this topic is near and dear to your specialty. Do you have any thoughts about how we could solve this issue? We’d love to hear what you’re thinking.” Elise will probably join in on the conversation with just a bit of encouragement. To prevent the same people from dominating the discussion of your issues day after day, you can follow up after a meeting and encourage them to let some of the others who are less vocal to weigh in with their input. Encourage them to join you in drawing their quieter colleagues in by asking them to clarify something said by someone else, or adding another viewpoint, if they see it differently. The main idea is to foster a celebration of differences and diversity of ideas. The more ideas you get tossed into the dialogue, the better the solutions are that you will come up with.
We’ll go into some additional best practices about building teamwork and collaboration in our next blog post. Let us know what you think, whether you agree with us or disagree vehemently. We love the dialogue and recognize that it challenges us to become better as we grow.
Michael is a Business Coach and an award-winning member of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance. He works closely with small and medium-sized businesses and their owners and leadership teams to help them run more profitable businesses. Michael offers an educational program called the ‘Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting Business Network Book Club.’ This Club meets once a month in Prior Lake, Minnesota. A presentation and discussion revolve around one popular Business Best Seller a month where Michael provides insight into a relevant business topic covered by the book. On August 18, 2017, he will be presenting on the book, ‘The Challenger Sale’ written by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.
Don’t just survive as a sales professional, start to thrive by feeling more confident. Join us on August 18 and learn how to take control of your client conversations. To sign up for our August Book Club or for more information about the Business Network Book Club and a list of the books that we will discuss this year, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.