It can be quite nerve racking taking on a leadership role in a new organization or in a new team. Being the stranger of the group can make it seem impossible to gain the trust of team members. After all, they know nothing about you, nor do they know or understand your leadership background. How does one begin to lead a new team? What steps are necessary to gaining the trust of a new team? Depending on the organization, team and leaders, it can vary. These are not the end all be all keys to leading a new team effectively, but they certainly create a solid start.
Build a rapport! Before you can assume everyone will follow you, you must first build a foundation in the relationship between you and each person on your team. You can do this by just simply asking questions. Make the questions personable. Ask about hobbies, family, sports, etc. Common questions that can help you and them get a sense of who each person is. This will build an open dialogue so they can get comfortable talking to you. This opens the door for communication for both sides. Build that rapport.
Be confident! It’s tough to get followers to trust you if you don’t yourself have confidence in your abilities to lead. Lack of confidence can lead to missed opportunities and can leave the team stagnant. Confident leaders take initiative. They don’t sit around and wait, they take charge knowing they can get the job done with the help of their team. It also rids fear. Fear is not a proper ingredient for success. Confidence drives out fear. When you’re confident in what you’re doing, people will be willing to follow. Be confident.
Be prepared! A mindset changes everything! Before you begin to lead any team you must be prepared to do so. You can’t walk onto a football field without proper equipment and proper game plays. Prepare yourself with necessary skills to perform your role. Being prepared means you’ve done your homework. You have to know who your team is, where your team is headed and how you can get them there. Educate yourself on each of these. Prepare yourself!
Be willing to learn! Leaders don’t know all of the answers, that’s why you have a team. Leaders must show they are willing to learn from their team members. Listening and learning from them builds trust. When teams learn from each other it strengthens their ability to adapt to overcome challenges. When leaders are open to learning from their team, it creates a culture of learning. Learning is how we grow. Show them that if you can, they can. Learn!