Tips for New Leaders
Whether you’ve just accepted a new leadership position or have been promoted to a leadership role, it can be overwhelming and stressful. You might think you have to hit the ground running and make a range of quick improvements and changes to prove you are fit to be a leader, but that is simply not the case. Take a breath, relax, and continue reading to learn all the best tips for new leaders!
1. Step Back and Observe
A common action for new leaders is to jump right in and start making changes. While this may be done with good intentions, it’s difficult to know if you are making the right changes before you’ve had a chance to observe. Spend your first month viewing the workplace as an impartial observer, whether you are new to the organization as a whole or not. Ask yourself these questions from The Balance Careers: What is the current workplace culture? “How are employees interacting with each other?” “How are conflicts resolved?” “What are the current spoken or unspoken ”rules’ of the workplace?” This process allows you to see what is working and what isn’t. It also helps inspire new ideas for change that you may not have had going in.
Everyone reacts differently to new leadership. Some team members may be excited for new energy and new ideas, while others may anxious and weary of upcoming changes. Let everyone know you won’t be rushing into any changes. When you do have ideas for change, communicate why you will be making that change and the desired outcome. It is also important to clearly and effectively communicate your leadership style, your goals, and your vision. In addition, give recognition and praise for a job well done. When people know what their purpose is, what is expected of them, and what they are doing well, they are more engaged, satisfied, and responsive to new leadership.
3. Have One-On-One Sessions
This may be one of the most important steps for a new leader. Speaking with each employee, one-on-one, allows you to really get know them. You discover what their talents are, what motivates them, what inspires them, what they enjoy most, etc. Not only does this create a bond built on trust and respect, but it helps your organization run more efficiently. For example, Jeanne DeWitt, Head of North America and Growth at Stripe, had one-on-one sessions with her employees when she took a leadership role at Google. After discussing career aspirations, DeWitt discovered an employee had untapped potential and moved her into a different role. That employee later become one of the top performers in the organization, something that might not have been possible without a one-on-one session with her manager.
4. Be Decisive
It might surprise you, but nothing is worse to employees than a new leader who cannot make a decision. Making tough decisions in a new environment with new employees can be ca challenge, but as DeWitt explains, being indecisive can be one of the hardest things to come back from. Employees respect a leader who makes a relatively quick, informed decision. Nothing is wrong with asking questions first, but don’t continually delay a decision or go back on a decision. Be clear and concise about why you made a certain decision and your desired outcome, and then move forward with the plan. This will eliminate any unrest and keep your team moving forward.
For more information, visit the Harvard Business Review!