The last two weeks we’ve spent time looking at the first two of four priceless practices for new team leaders – Connecting with People and Creating Team Building Environments. These first two are non-negotiables when it comes to erupting out of the starting blocks strong. But again, we must keep in mind that they are somewhat counterintuitive. Most new leaders focus on tasks and what people do instead of who they are, why they work there, and what ignites their fiery passions. Just remember that you’ll have plenty of time to get acquainted with what people do, but your best opportunity to make the biggest impact is by immediately taking the time to connect and create environments. People will see immediately that you care more about them than what they produce.

This week we get to hit the third priceless practice. Of the four, this one is by far the least flashy, but it helps you get your bearings. Check in out!

Craft a List

In any new role, the leader is inundated with what is not working – customers tell them, employees tell them, their boss tells them, and they see them. However, if they’re not careful they can either lose track of the problems or get overwhelmed by all that needs to be addressed and ultimately fixed.

The list and establishing clarity around it is significant because up to this point, you’ve invested time in connecting with people. Many of them have told you their story and are wondering what you’re going to do about it. As you work through the issues, they’ll start to see that you’re not only about caring for them, but you’re also a person of action who will get things done. The combination of connection and execution is magical. In the end, the team will start to begin to take some meaningful steps forward.

If new team leaders aren't careful, they can either lose track of the problems they see or get overwhelmed by all that needs to be addressed and ultimately fixed.

When I was in my first significant leadership role leading a P&L that was best described as a Grade A dumpster fire, my former boss encouraged me to make a list. My first list had 28 issues I uncovered the first 30 days that needed to be fixed. They were things like dealing with specific customers who weren’t paying, clients who weren’t being cared for, and gaping holes in the execution process to name a few. Having a list gave me clarity so that when I got to work, I knew exactly what I needed to do to make an immediate impact. The best part was that I didn’t need to put the pressure on myself to get through the whole list in one day. Instead this was a group of issues that I needed to try to start fixing so that I could cross them off.

Here’s your homework assignment for this week. Make a list of issues and record them on a legal pad or a notes screen on your phone. Pull it out each morning and figure out what you’re going to attack next. Take a moment to share in the comments how it goes. I can’t wait to see you make it happen!

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