If this is the first time for you leading a team, it can be a daunting time. So, weather you are managing a small or large team you should always have an initial meeting with them on day one, but what will the agenda be? Should you prepare a big “speech”? How should you set everyone’s expectations? Don’t panic, this is just as nerve-racking for them as it is for you.  Think about what you want their first impression of you to be….

When you come into this first meeting, you need to focus on building trust before you try & change anything.

Use this meeting to set the tone for the kind of environment you want everyone to work in.

  • Show you are worthy of their trust
  • Show that you are humble and ready to learn
  • Show that your intention is to help

You should keep in mind that you are new and although you are in a leadership role, your team will be sceptical of you. They will only see your confidence sense of direction as positives if they trust you, so without this you could come across as arrogant and misguided.

You should try to get to know your team by asking them some simple get-to-know-you questions and take notes as you can use their answers in any future meetings or events etc (If someone’s favourite flower is a Gerbera, then consider buying them flowers which include Gerberas for a promotion, work anniversary or birthday etc). You can also tell them about your personal interests or what you do in your free time? Do you support any charities or events locally that you could do together?

When its your turn to introduce yourself one of the more important elements is to show your human side. Talk to them about what motivates and inspires you? The more they know you the more likely they are to trust you. Then you can talk about your leadership values.

  • What drew you to this specific role and organisation?
  • What do you see is the main purpose of a manager?
  • What do you value?

If you share your intentions that you are there to motivate and help them, as well as supporting them to do the best work they can to achieve great things, this will help to build their trust. You have to show your vulnerable side and let the team know you don’t have all the answers all of the time, so don’t be afraid to say “I am the new person here, and all of you in this room know more than me. You have a lot of experience within the business that I don’t have, and I am looking to learn from you all”

It is also important to ask a couple of probing questions to the team at this stage so that you can pay attention to their answers. Fore example:

  • Is there anything you would like to change in this team?
  • How do you prefer to receive feedback?
  • What do you wish was communicated to you more often?
  • Who was the best boss you ever had & why?
  • How often would you like to set up one-to-one meetings? Weekly, monthly, quarterly?
  • Is there anything that has been off limits to talk about before as a team?

Towards the end of your meeting you should let them know that you will be setting up one-to-one meetings with each of them over the next few days and during these meetings you can plan how frequent future meetings need to be, however if they want to speak to you sooner then let them know you are available. Be proactive with them and they will react positively.

You should be prepared for the team to ask you some tough questions at this stage, so answer what you can truthfully and with humility. This is only day one for you, so you will not be able to answer everything, keep in mind that this is the start of a new adventure and if you take on board some of these tips then I am sure you will a very successful manager.