Employee Incentives News: How to motivate and lead in a new team

Happy days – you have a new job. But instead of being ready to implement General Amazingness, your only wish is for the existing team to accept you. You feel like the new kid at school, unsure how to show your best side. It’s all against you – ready made bonds are at play, in jokes abound – and from what you can see, the old manager was a cross between Holly Willoughby and Richard Branson, a superstar business mind slash national treasure. In contrast, everything you say is viewed with suspicion or derision. So, when you are about as popular as a warm egg sandwich in a lift, how can you turn it around and get people to trust you so you can motivate and lead the team?

Do your pre-game research 

Mindtools suggests getting Inspector Google on the case so you are pre-warned and prepared.

“If there’s a corporate intranet with employee profiles, read up on your team’s professional skills and accomplishments, and any other information that you can come by. This will demonstrate to your team that you value it enough to spend time learning about its members before the meeting. If you can’t find this data on the intranet, talk to your HR department, who may have photos and background information on the new members of your team.

Using this data, try to memorize people’s faces, names and hometowns. If you struggle to remember names, try using face association, in which you make a connection between a name and a unique characteristic. Make the effort to learn how to pronounce names correctly, too.

If possible, before you take on your new role, schedule an informal face-to-face talk with your boss and the team’s previous manager about people’s strengths and weaknesses, about any behavioral issues in the team, or about any conflicts that you need to be aware of.”

Get one to ones ASAP 

Leading with Trust suggests a one to one is imperative, so get them booked in.

“Your primary goal when taking over leadership of a team is to build trust with your team members, and the only way that’s possible is by investing time in developing the relationship. Hold 1on1 meetings with each team member and make it your focus to build the relationship. Get to know them personally and understand their goals, dreams, and frustrations. Enter these conversations with the spirit of a learner. Don’t use this time as an opportunity to impress others with your brilliance. That will backfire and you’ll come off as arrogant and bossy. Listen, learn, solicit input, get the lay of the land, and simply get to know people.”

Focus on the road ahead and don’t brag 

According to Peter Barron Stark, it’s a good idea to ensure you play down your previous roles and stay away from the past in any capacity.

“You’re the newest star attraction, and clearly hired for your technical expertise, talent, and people smarts. Even though you may have inherited a highly dysfunctional, underperforming team, don’t ever Bad mouth your predecessor or the way your current team is handling things. Bad mouthing previous leadership or current team members will backfire, and you’ll be the casualty. Playing up your previous successes will lead your current team to wonder why, if you were such a “hot shot,” did you leave your last position? Instead, honor their past. After all, no matter how bad the current situation is, the team survived well enough to hire you. Walk your talk and let your actions speak loudly for what you stand for.”

Show you’re keen on change

One great question to ask is ‘how would you like to be managed.’ It puts the ball in their court. As this article suggests, and another great one is “What have your past managers done that you’d like me to also do or not do?” This question will instantly give you credibility with your team and shows you care. Whether their last manager was saint or devil, they’ll provide valuable insight for you.If the last manager was great, they’ll give you insight into what they appreciated most, short-cutting finding some of the most effective ways to lead and motivate them. Meanwhile, if the last manager was poor, you reset their expectations and give them reason for optimism.”

Get the balance right 

Don’t go in too chummy, and at the same time, be human. It’s worth looking at what employees really want. As Brad Aranson says:

“They want a leader who is fair, gives them opportunities, helps them with their career and appreciates their hard work. They want to know their success and opportunities are based on merit and not relationships they may not have with you outside of work. They want someone who is interested and cares about their life outside of work. Someone who wants them to succeed. But, I don’t think they want another best friend, and if they do, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be that friend.”