Starting a new job can be difficult for anyone, but it can be especially daunting for someone hired for a managerial position. Integrating yourself into an established culture and work environment as a leader can be nerve-wracking and raise a lot of doubts and fears. Will your new employees accept you? How can you earn their trust and respect?
To help start the job on the right foot, 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members each detail one step a new manager can take to establish strong relationships with their team. Here are their recommendations and why it’s so important to follow these steps when you’re starting out.
1. Break The Ice
If there is one step the manager can take, it should be communication. There is nothing as indispensable as communicating and breaking the ice with your fellow teammates. Communication will not only make the workers feel you are one of them but it will also show you as a person who takes interest and listens well. However, make sure to not intrude in every matter, as it will create more void between you and your new friends. Sharing joyful moments and existing problems in the established culture and environments is a great way to earn the trust and respect of a team. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
2. Ask Great Questions
If you are a new manager stepping into a team that has been working together for a while, the best way you can build trust is to acknowledge what you don’t know. Ask a lot of questions to ensure you understand how the team works, what motivates them, what the biggest challenges are, and what ideas they have for improving things before you come in with ideas of your own. You’ll build more trust helping empower the team than coming in with a dozen new ideas to change things up on day one. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
3. Take A Genuine Interest In People’s Backgrounds
If you want your employees to respect you, it’s important to respect them first. This means treating all your employees with the respect they deserve, regardless of their job title. How do you show respect to gain respect? Take a genuine interest in your employees’ backgrounds and the work they do. Ask questions about their work and what they might need. Don’t insult the manager that came before you. Respect any previous work or you might find yourself with many insulted employees. If things don’t go as planned, don’t get defensive. Change is hard for most people and a new manager can be stressful. If people show initial resistance, don’t take it personally. Instead, focus on building your team and establishing a foundation of mutual respect. – Shu Saito, All Filters
4. Own Up To Your Mistakes
To earn the trust and respect of their team, managers need to own up to their mistakes and admit when they’re wrong. Failing to do so will promote the same behavior in their employees and result in a dishonest workplace where no one takes accountability for their shortcomings. It’s crucial to take responsibility so your team feels comfortable enough to do the same. This leads to quicker problem-solving and better results for the company. It also builds respect for you as the manager. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
5. Have Candid Conversations With Your New Employees
Have candid conversations! Talk with your new team about how they reached their current position, what makes them tick, improvements they want to see, challenges they have and so forth. Then, let them get to know you as well! Talk about what got you to where you are, your goals as a professional, how you best communicate and what makes you tick. Transparency, vulnerability and empathy go a long way in a leadership position. Set a tone of understanding and humility and you’ll set yourself up for success. – Shay Berman, Digital Resource
6. Invest In Your Team
The most important thing a manager can do is invest in their team members. Set aside time for one-on-one meetings with each individual team member. Don’t just use this time to talk about what you expect from your team — ask your team members what they expect from you, too. Ask them what they need from you to succeed in their role and how you can support their growth toward their own individual career goals. Research shows time and again that what employees want from their managers is a champion; someone who fights on their side and helps them thrive in the workplace. If you show up and start investing in your team members from day one, they’ll feel motivated to give you their all. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
7. Give Respect First
If you want respect, you typically have to give respect. A new manager can have an unexpectedly destabilizing effect on an established workforce. Changes to established routines can leave employees in the lurch, wondering if their views and opinions are still respected. If not addressed, this can create a rift between a new manager and their subordinates. How can a new manager show respect? When in doubt, over-communicate. As a new manager, take an extra minute to explain your decisions and why you believe they will offer a better, more efficient solution. This can be done in a staff meeting, via email or through direct conversations with team members. You won’t necessarily gain the agreement of your employees but by inviting them into the process, you may have earned their respect. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance
8. Talk To Other Company Leaders
When you get into a new house, you’ll first hear out the leadership and workforce about existing rules, try to understand where they are coming from and why they have those rules in place — as well as discovering the underlying principles they follow. Once you have that understanding, if you find room for improvement or have creative new ideas you believe will better the team and the business, you find a way to communicate those ideas to them in their own language. In other ways, you show respect, integrity and loyalty by becoming one of their own and bringing new ideas from the inside versus the outside. – Fabi Hubschmid, Markaaz
9. Find Out Where To Turn For Help
When a new manager steps in it’s important that the leaders of a company play a supporting role during the transition phase. It’s not necessary for a new person in an organization to find their bearings all on their own. When the company has a clear onboarding strategy and gradually introduces people to their full tasks, they create success for everyone. As a manager, you should feel free to ask questions and get information when you’re not sure how things are done. Try to hold a team meeting and also have one-on-one conversations to learn more about the business and the people who work there. When you do this, you create the best chance of success. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
10. Be A Leader, Not A Boss
It is important for a new manager to make it clear that their role is to support the team, not to serve as some kind of authority figure to whom the team needs to cater. If you lead by example, your diligence and work ethic will inspire others to follow suit. Above all, be respectful. Cultivating trust is essential, not only in order to create a good company culture but as a key ingredient of efficient problem-solving. A team that trusts one another is more likely to communicate earlier and more effectively about any potential issues that arise, whereas a company in which the team feels alienated or disrespected by their manager is more likely to allow problems to grow before asking for help. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled