Leading a new team? 12 ideas to succeed in your first week

Moved from team member to Team Leader?

New to people leadership?

Congrats to you, I’m sure you’ll be great.

No doubt you’ll want to get off to a good start with your new team. Here are tips to help you transition into your new role.

  1. Focus on your new job – with confidence

It’s okay to be proud of your new role or promotion. Hey, you’ve earned it right! You were top of your game in that role and now you have new challenges ahead. Lift your head up high and be happy with what you have achieved.

  1. Let go of your old job

It’s a trap that many of us leaders have fallen into… you know, where you have the most technical experience so it’s just natural for you to ‘jump in’ and help out. Your new leadership role is bigger than that one task. Passing on those skills to others and focusing on your new goals is what you need to do now.

  1. Be in observation mode

As the saying goes…

“…it’s a marathon – not a sprint.”

In your first week, just observe what is going on, such as your team going about their daily tasks. Nothing needs to change this second and no-one expects you to bring a miracle cure for that one thing that has been annoying the team for the last 3 years!

  1. Hold a team meeting as soon as you can

Traditionally, change is seen as a negative and this makes your team members nervous.

Holding a team meeting as soon as you can provides you the opportunity to put their minds at rest. Let them know you are going to ease into the role and, for next while, will be observing and asking questions.

This will make everyone (including you) feel better.

  1. Meet with individual team members in your first two weeks

Meeting with individual members of your new team one-on-one is a great way to hear about any issues you may not be aware of. Ask lots of open questions during this meeting and you will start building solid relationships right in your first week – awesome!

  1. Make some decisions

Part of your new leadership role will involve you to make decisions; for the team, for the customers, for a process etc. Even though you may be in observation mode it’s okay (and expected) that you make decisions. A key skill for leaders to have is to be a decision maker as you are accountable.

Being an active listener is vital!

  1. Listen well

Be an active listener and look like one! To really uncover the meaning of what others are saying you need to –

  • Sit still
  • Keep eye contact
  • Save your comments until the speaker has finished, and
  • Paraphrase what you have heard and ask questions.
  1. Don’t over promise anything

If you’re making promises in your first few weeks, then you are trying too hard. Promising too much to soon can undermine a long-term process (even a bad one) and your new team. This can lead to less trust on you as the new manager.

  1. If it ain’t broken – don’t fix it!

This is a great rule to remember.

Leave things the way they are for at least the first 4-6 months. I know you’d like to tidy things up and that you can see a better way of doing things. Take this time to fully understand what is involved and who may be affected if things change.

  1. Ask for help

Be humble. If you really want to make a good impression, admit that you’re stuck and ask for help. This will give you kudos with your team.

  1. Actively walk around your team

If you really want to know the what’s what in your new team you need to walk around and talk to people. You can find out a lot and I know this will work for you.

  1. Never stop learning

Take every opportunity to find out more information about the them most important things you’re responsible for – People, Processes and Products/Services

Have I missed any that would be important to you?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Never stop learning,


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