Tips for a New Leader

Becoming a leader in any organization is an exciting prospect. After all, many people have experienced poor leadership and would like to prove that they are different. However, once stepping into a leadership role, it can feel overwhelming, and it will come with a learning curve. The following tips will help you do a better job as you grow into your leadership position.

Make a Connection

When starting a new role, it is crucial to become acquainted with everyone you manage. After all, these are people who will be looking to you for support, and if you do not know what sets each of them apart, it will be tough to provide the right kind of help. Connect with your new reports and get to know them not only by their professional achievements but also on a personal level. Find out their strengths and weaknesses, how they communicate best, and what they are passionate about. Taking the time to understand who you are working with will help you down the road as opportunities arise or changes need to be made.

Stay Organized

When becoming a leader, it is easy to fall into a routine of answering questions all day, without taking any notes or following up with necessary paperwork. This is a downfall of many managers, and it is something you should be cautious about. Find a system that works for you early on and stick to it. Do not worry about being available at a moment’s notice, and instead, set reasonable expectations that allow you to help your team and stay on top of your work.

Hold Everyone Accountable

As someone in a management position, you will find that you have people on the team that you like more than others. That is entirely human, and it is not inherently wrong. Yet, when managers give preferential treatment or do not hold their favorites accountable, this can put a bad taste in the entire team’s mouth. Be sure that you are holding everyone accountable equally. If you feel like your personal relationships with your team are getting in the way of your judgment, take a step back from them until you can become objective.

It is not always easy being a leader. People look up to you for the answers whenever there is a problem, and you can quickly find yourself in hot water if you do not adapt well. The tips above will help you on this journey and will allow you to start your management career effectively.

14 Comments

  1. Mark Gale

    You got to meet with everyone. Whenever I take over a new organization, I try to meet everyone. The first priority is to spend enough time with your boss, direct reports and key business partners.

  2. Isabel Freycin

    When you’re a new leader it’s important to get to know each other, show what you stand for, explain how you want the team to work, set or clarify goals, keep your door open, and score an “early win.”

  3. Conrad Munn

    My best leadership tip is to think of leadership as a responsibility as much as an opportunity. Influential leaders understand that they are responsible for everyone they are leading and consider that responsibility as their primary concern. If you ever lose empathy for, and dedication to, the people you are teaching, you are not a leader.

  4. Valerie Verhalen

    Be honest with yourself and accept what you know and don’t know. Select supportive team members who hold the skills needed to take the company in the best direction. See yourself as a piece of Swiss cheese–know your holes and add others (slices) whose substance, when layered on your portion, eventually creates a concrete, firm unified block of cheese. A single piece of cheese with its many holes can easily be pulled apart, but a concrete block is tough to pull apart.

  5. Melissa Mahan

    You can’t just be compassionate and try to be liked every time someone comes to you with a dilemma. But you need to be able to understand the problems and that person’s point of view. You can’t just dismiss them out of hand. And if you’re able to see things from their point of view and indeed be empathetic, you’ll be able to frame your acknowledgment in a way that will prove you’ve heard them, and also answer their unique concerns. They might not always be comfortable, but it will lead to more acceptance if you have to tell them something they’re not eager to hear.

  6. Sean Dreiser

    A new leader should LISTEN before doing anything. Listen to staff. Listen to customers. Listen to other stakeholders in the company. LISTEN. Remember you are there to serve, not to be served.

  7. George Hamline

    A new leader should have the ability to define a vision—to know how to make it clear to everyone how you’ll get there and how your corporate goals connect with the personal goals of those you lead.

  8. Will Crooke

    Pay attention to what’s happening around you. Don’t think there’s just one way to do things—context is everything. I’d also say work to reduce the stress of the people around you. If you walk in the room and the stress levels go up, you’re doing it all wrong—and vice versa.

  9. Marshall DeNeeve

    New leaders don’t try to get it all done in the first two weeks. They know that achieving important priorities will take time. They respond to the most urgent needs while also carving out time for the longer-term strategy. They give themselves space in their days. They consciously work to avoid days of back-to-back meetings and decline ones without a clear agenda.

  10. Todd Zuaa

    In my first year of being a leader, I learned very quickly that succeeding at leadership is not about what you know. Rather, it’s about encouraging and supporting your employees to share what they know.

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