Many leaders don’t get to handpick the people on their team. They’re not involved in recruitment or the interview process. Often, they may even have inherited the team from another manager.

If you’re a new leader, you’re probably realizing the challenge that comes with managing a group of individuals whose strengths and weaknesses you haven’t yet recognized. You don’t know if there is any existing conflict under the surface or if they are in agreement with regards to the team’s direction. You haven’t identified who the natural leaders are and who isn’t pulling their share of the weight. And you’re still trying to figure out who is the most engaged and who is at risk of disconnecting from the team and the organization entirely.

As a new leader, you don’t have to struggle or be disappointed with the team you have. Instead, mold them into the team you need. Here’s how:

Encourage Creative Problem-Solving Skills

The team you need is one that doesn’t come to you asking for the all answers to all their problems. Instead, tell your people to come to you with both their problems and possible solutions. Together, you can arrive at the right decision. Asking them to come up with creative solutions empowers them not to give up whenever they are stuck and by default, ask for help.

Celebrate Potential Over Experience

Many employees feel they are entitled to promotions or special privileges simply because they have been around longer. However, the employee who is most tenured isn’t always the one with the most skill. Identify the people who have ambition and are keen to develop their talents. Reward their proactiveness with more responsibility.

Engage in Informal Conversations

To make yourself more accessible, you have to show your team that you’re ready to engage. Leave structured conversations for formal meetings. On any other day, check in with your team for a casual catch-up. The most productive employees are the ones who are happy and comfortable in their work environments. They don’t live in fear of their superiors, and they feel that they can easily approach their managers for guidance, feedback, and additional training.

Eliminate Status Meetings

Status meetings have been found to be disruptive to the flow of work. They’re also a waste of time. If you need a status on something, have a one-on-one meeting where you ask the person involved directly. Instead of status meetings, track progress on a shared platform. Staff meetings should be reserved for working out roadblocks and any issues that affect the team’s collective efforts to move forward and meet their goals.

Identify Their Motivators

When employees feel understood by their managers, they’re more likely to work with the organization and not against it. Therefore, making genuine connections with your people should be one of your main priorities. Take the time to engage your employees and invite them to share with you what motivates them. You’re not only gaining a better understanding of why they do what they do, but you’re earning their trust by respecting what drives them. You’re also showing your support and want to help them get the most out of their time at work and achieve their personal and professional goals.

Are you a new manager struggling to lead a diverse team you’ve only just met? Do you have a vision for the ideal team but don’t know how to steer your existing group of individuals into that direction? As your greatest ally in leadership development, I believe I can help.  Let’s connect: greg@inscapeconsulting.com

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