As a new leader, your first 100 days are like an extended interview. You will be evaluated by team members, your manager, peers, clients, and external observers. Everything you do or do not do will affect them. Because you want to start off on the right foot, avoid making these five mistakes.
Not Getting to Know Your Team Members
As a new leader, you may focus more on getting work done than on getting to know your team. However, lack of a personal connection will result in your team thinking of you as a robot. Instead, build credibility by personally getting to know each individual and letting them get to know you. Have friendly conversations about family, friends, hobbies, and other common interests. Ask about your teammates’ ideas and desired changes for the department. When possible, implement their ideas. Maintain an open-door policy for handling questions and concerns.
Quickly Making Changes
Like many new leaders, you may believe that you need to quickly take control and change everything without getting to know your processes. However, because your team members most likely were involved in creating those processes, your changing things may be viewed as disrespectful or insulting. Rather, begin by establishing a clear understanding of your team’s needs, wants, and challenges. Uncover details of each teammate’s role and how it affects the organization. Determine what motivates your team individually and collectively. Involve your team in creating better products and processes.
Feeling Pressured to Have All the Answers
You may feel that being a new leader means you need to have answers for everything. However, the technical and functional expertise that brought you to your role are those you need to develop other experts. As result, you must learn new skills to guide your team members and support their development. You also want to surround yourself with people who have the answers you are looking for so that you know whom to turn to for help.
Not Showing Your Human Side
Your role as a new leader may make you want to avoid showing weakness at all costs. However, like everyone, there will be times when you make mistakes. How you handle and learn from your mistakes will build your authenticity. Admit when you are wrong and use the example as a teaching moment. Showing humility will increase your team members’ respect for you.
Not Asking for Guidance
You may have relied on your skills, abilities, and work ethic to get to your new leadership role and think you can continue on your own. However, you will benefit by asking for guidance from other leaders. Discover what common ground you share and what their primary motivations are. Establish credibility and trust by finding ways to provide value for other leaders. Share your career goals with them and ask for their support.
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