Leading a New Team: Part 2

In Part 1 we covered three steps to prepare and what to look for to be successful in your new role. In Part 2 we provide critical thinking questions and indicators to help you think fresh thoughts about your new leadership opportunity:

Six Considerations for a New Leader

  1. Will you do things in a way your predecessor did not?
  2. What fresh approaches will you take?
  3. What new ideas will you implement?
  4. What new delegations will you make?
  5. How will you think differently about the business you’re in?
  6. How will you set clear expectations?

Identify Keys to Success.

There are only three or four crucial measures for any business. It does not matter whether we’re talking about a single department or a multinational corporation. There will always be just three or four metrics that will tell what is working and what is not. What are they for you?

What previous traditions or expectations should you eliminate?

These are things that run on their own inertia. This is the “way we have always done it around here” stuff. It could be reports, meetings, rankings, or social expectations. Some of these things worked at one point, but have pooped out. Some of these things never worked. The easiest way to illustrate that a forward view is more important than history is to cut these things out liberally.

Where are you going to get your growth or improvement?

This is the hardest part of the planning. There’s the hidden upside in your new area of responsibility. Your predecessor could not see it, but it’s there. The team members know where the growth opportunities are, so interviewing them will give you some instant clarity. Giving them a platform and asking their opinions will also help you earn “buy in” from your new team. After that, you will need to dig into the numbers and see what they tell you. Inevitably, your growth opportunities will surface.

Where will you be firm and where will you be flexible?

This is a way of asking what’s important to you. Every leader expects to have to show her teeth occasionally, but you have to pick your moments carefully. There will be a few no-compromise areas, but it cannot be every area or you will lose leverage and credibility.

Go where the response is.

This five-word recommendation can save you years of work if you really understand it. Leaders succeed and fail based on their ability to direct people’s energy and attention. Team members will not always agree on that direction. When they don’t, the leader will not get the energy and attention he needs to succeed in the project, the initiative, or the business. So go where the response is: Pay attention to who is engaged and “on board” with what you’re saying and doing. Trying to change people’s minds can be a losing proposition; it puts too much attention on the areas that are not working. Instead, focus your energy on the people who “get it.” Make sure they’re getting the attention, recognition, and resources to succeed. The others will catch on or they won’t, but they will not be the deciding factor in the enterprise.

Being a leader in a takeover role can be a high-wire act. You must premeditate every move. You will be under scrutiny from above and below, so you need to make sure the decisions you are making are an accurate reflection of your priorities and values as a leader. You can leverage these recommendations to ensure your success in your new opportunity.

Go in with high expectations, you are going to do great!



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