New leaders brought on to manage an existing team have a great deal at stake. Chances are, this team already has a track record, so everything the team accomplishes after the manager’s first day will be measured as testimony to their efficacy as a leader, or proof of their incompetence.
So for many leaders, the primary focus during the first few months of leading a new team is tangibly important.
Each month, AchieveGlobal hosts an online poll through our eNewsletter, Achieve. In October, our survey asked, “When you take over a new team, what is your top priority?”
Our respondents chose from such focuses as:
- Setting a vision and strategic direction
- Adjusting processes and driving core performance
- Building a relationship with your new boss
- Decorating your new office.
Happily, very few of our respondents chose the decorating option!
Most of our participants chose “Getting to know your people and build relationships” as the number one top priority when taking over a new team.
The profound wisdom of this priority deserves a little more consideration. We often think of the nuts and bolts of leadership as having sound strategy, and focusing on performance measurement. The reality may lean a lot closer to the more people-focused side of management.
Back when we published our research on the six zones of leadership, we noted one of the six zones as “People.” In particular, we said that leaders with strengths in this zone tend to:
- Read a range of emotions in others and respond appropriately.
- Adapt to the leadership needs of different groups.
- Help others resolve issues of work-life balance.
- Make a daily effort to inspire the trust of customers and colleagues.
There is recognition, it seems, among our survey participants that it is only by gaining the trust of the team that any manager can successfully achieve any degree of performance worth measuring. Taking this logic one step further, one might say that without a collaborative environment built through team relationships, the question of how to decorate your new office may well be moot!
To subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Achieve and participate in our regular polls, visit http://www.achieveglobal.com/research-and-resources/enewsletters.aspx
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida