We began this “Peer to Boss” transition series with tips to Get to Know Your New Team and last week we continued it with some information to aid you in Developing a Team You May Have Inherited. We are concluding it this week with some sage advice for new managers that will help you to ace your first team meeting with your new staff. Why is this so important? Because as we all know, first impressions are often lasting impressions. And there’s no better time or place to make that impression than at that first meeting with your team.
Meeting with your new team for the first time can be really nerve-racking, and not just for you. During this first meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to begin building a bridge toward trust, respect, and support. Use this meeting to set the tone for the kind of team environment you want to foster.
- Have an agenda. Doesn’t need to be anything extensive or over the top, but you want to give the attendees some idea of where the focus of the meeting will be. This will also help to curtail conversations that go off in directions the meeting was not meant to cover.
- Keep your meeting short and informal. Don’t overwhelm them or yourself with this first meeting. You want to keep it simple.
- Tell them a little about yourself. This isn’t about tooting your horn, but more about allowing them to get to know you. Tell them about your leadership style, your values and intentions, your interest, and what you do in your free time. A lot of this will be covered in your one-on-one meetings with staff members. Be sure to keep your sharing to only about 25% of your allotted meeting time. You don’t want to come across to your new team as arrogant or self-absorbed.
- Share your expectations and goals for the unit. This is very important because if they are uncertain of what you want or are looking for, they’ll never be able to hit the mark. Don’t plan on mapping out your entire vision for the next year. At a later date and time, you can plan a meeting to really delve into your unit’s goals for the year.
- Even though you are in charge, you don’t have to have all the answers. Be vulnerable; let your team know that you don’t have all the answers and may lean on them from time-to-time for help. This lets them know that you are not thinking of yourself too highly, because even though you are the boss, that doesn’t imbue you with all of the knowledge in the world, and to state otherwise would make you appear arrogant, detached from reality.
- Be ready for the tough questions, because believe me, you’re going to hear them. Answer as honestly as you can. And remember, this is your opportunity to listen and learn.
Of course, this is just the beginning and there is much more to consider but use this as a framework as you begin planning your first meeting with your new team. Good luck!
We’d love to hear from you. What have you found to be the main ingredient for effective team meetings?