Hook & Bait

Teamleader’s first important steps

Anu asks

What do you think are the leader’s most important things to do, when she/he’ll meet his/her new team for first time?

Marten Mickos

When a team gets a new leader, there is always an amount of anxiety in the air. What is the new leader like? Will this change be good for me, or bad? What if I don’t like the new leader, or worse: what if he/she doesn’t like me?

Your first action will therefore be to establish trust. You need to show what kind of person you are – what your values are and how you operate. I also think it’s good to show some of your personal side in the first meeting. This will help reduce anxiety in the team.

But you should also show your firmness in the first meeting. This is your first and best opportunity to set expectations with the team. You may want to talk about your plans and priorities, or about things (behaviors, initiatives, etc.) that will not continue. It’s important that the team sees you assume the leadership role with vigor.

Throughout all of this, make sure that you are not just presenting to them, but also asking questions. Your questions are actually more important than your postulations. If the team walks away from the first meeting having a sense that you are a leader who listens, you are off to a great start.

All the best in your new role!

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