Your number one focus when you take on a new leadership role should be on gaining your team's trust!
Too often I see new leaders come in guns blazing wanting to change everything within the first 100 days with an amazing strategic action plan. More often than not, they end up frustrated after a couple of months, because people are resisting the change and don‘t want to follow.
Why do you think that is?
Because you are the new leader and your team simply doesn’t trust you yet. Don’t worry this is perfectly normal and has nothing to do with you as a person. Just think about yourself, have you ever trusted your new boss blindly from day one?
No! Trust was built over time!
So ditch your very smart strategic action plan and instead focus on these three simple actions which will help build the trust within your team:
1. Get to know your team.
Have coffee, lunch or 1:1s with all of them, so that you get to know them better on a personal level and they also get a chance to know you better. In my most recent new role I made it a point to have 1:1s with every employee that was office based, that was over 40 people. The effort will pay off in the long run.
2. Visit your customers and the front line.
Visit as many customers and the front line as possible with your team. Your main focus here is to better understand how you can support those really doing the work, so that they can do their jobs better and make customers happier.
But not only this, doing these visits with your direct reports and showing that you really care about helping both those doing the work and your customers, will help build trust.
3. Understand the problems your teams are facing.
Do this by having large team meetings or small workshops where the focus is all about getting their inputs. You should be doing very little of the talking, all you are doing is creating a platform for them to share the challenges they face.
If you focus on these three simple things, getting to know your team, your customers and the frontline, as well as understanding your teams problems, you will already have enough on your plate for the first 100 days.
Once the 100 days have passed you will have loads of information for you to define a great strategy moving forward, which will really address the opportunities and challenges your team is facing.
Plus now that you have made progress in building some trust, you will also find it much easier to implement this strategy and get their buy in, as you have actually taken the time to listen to them.
So remember, keep it simple, focus on gaining your team's trust, by getting to know: your team, your customers, the front line and understanding your team's problems.
If you do, then I promise you that you will be off to the most amazing start in your new role.