Every day, people step into opportunities to lead a new team. Most of the time it happens by way of promotion. They were doing great at their job, and the executives decided that they were ready to take over something new. They hoped that their stellar performance would cross over into a new role and take the team to another level. The team’s current performance ranges from already doing great to average, under-performing, or not performing at all.

Regardless of where you are in the org chart, these four practices will help you. If you’re a new leader, it’ll give you exactly what you need. Conversely, if you are getting a new boss, it’ll give you some ideas to help make their transition easier.

Each time I’ve stepped into a new role and inherited a new team, I have followed these four practices. The results have been eerily similar in that they’ve propelled both the team and me forward faster. Here are the four practices:

  • Connect with People
  • Create Team Building Environments
  • Craft a List
  • Celebrate Victories

Over the next four weeks, we’ll look at each practice and unpack it so that you can start using it right away.

The temptation of every new leader is to go as fast as possible through this process because there are things to get done! Because leaders love and thrive on progress you will naturally try to speed the process up. Your mantra cannot be “Go Fast” because it’ll ultimately cause you to go slow.  Instead your mantra must become “Go Slow so I can go Fast”. Say it with me, “Go Slow so I can go Fast!”

People are like crock pots, not microwaves. It takes time to build trust as well as learn all you need to know about your new team and perhaps how your team must execute to hit the mark. So, take a deep breath. Go ahead, take it now. We’ve got time. Ok, here we go.

People are like crock pots, not microwaves. It takes time to build trust.

Connect with People

This is not as obvious as you may think. Many leaders blow past this one and completely miss it altogether because they’re too fixated on producing fast results. People need to know you care. John Maxwell, in his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership talks about the Law of Connection and says, “You have to touch a heart before you can ask for a hand.” This happens through investing time in people. Here are a few questions to ask people on your team:

  • Tell me your story.
  • What attracted you to (insert name of organization)?
  • What excites you about (insert name of organization)?
  • If you could change anything, what would you change?
  • How can I make your life easier?
  • How can I serve you?

Each question opens the door for real connection. People need to know that you care. If you notice, not one question has to do with how well they do their job. Instead they have everything to do with being open to learning everything you can about them.

This practice also requires good listening skills. Your team could care less about your professional highlight reel when you knocked the ball out of the park. So, ask good questions and take good notes. Your turn to talk is coming.

Give this practice a try over the next week and feel free to post in the comments how it went! I am cheering you on!