Five steps to making a good first impression as a new leader - Women's Agenda

Five steps to making a good first impression as a new leader

I started a new role this week and had a great first week. From the very first meeting I was embraced by everyone in my team and the department heads that I would need to work closely with to achieve the very large dreams that I have for the business.

The five-step plan that helped increase the chance of success this week is one that I have replicated many times throughout my career, at various levels of management.

  1. Over-communicate

    It is important to ensure that your team gets a clear understanding of your big picture plans as early as possible. Every new leader comes into an organisation with a vision for change or growth and generally they have had months to think about it before day one. Talk about those ideas with the people you meet so that you make the right first impression with them. In return all team members opened up to me honestly and transparently too. I like to start as I mean to go on. I started my first week by sharing my priorities, values and big picture aspirations for the business that I had signed on to run.

  2. Canvas your team’s motivations

    I like to find out what drives people to achieve. Spending time getting to know as many people in your team as possible is time-consuming but ultimately worth it. This week I have determined who is ready to soar as one of the potential stars of my team, who needs help refocusing and who will need lots of hugs and encouragement. Every person in the team is unique and that’s always my starting point when determining how to get the best out of them in order to achieve the aspirations I have for the business.

  3. Ask questions and then really listen to the answers

    New ideas can only be effective if planned within the context of reality. I always spend the first few weeks in a new job asking a lot of questions that I am genuinely interested in finding the answers to. It’s important that the people you interact with are given the chance to demonstrate their skills and experience because every leader relies on great people to achieve their goals.

  4. Fight fires where necessary

    Leaders need to take the reins from day one and that means resolving issues from day one – hour one even. Team members appreciate leaders who are prepared to remove roadblocks and dramas from their work day so they can get on with it. I like to take problems on straight away in a new role because every small win helps reinforce my self-confidence too.

  5. Make decisions early and with conviction

    I start approving things on day one of a new job. It’s important to back yourself. Early on in the new role you may not feel that you are in a position to make the right decision but you have to do it anyway. And if in doubt, ask for help. I sense-checked a few decisions in my first week in the new role and I believe the exchange helped with the development of a few strong collegiate working relationships.

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