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Likable New Leaders Do These 3 Things From the Beginning

Jade Yourth
Industry Insights
man in superhero cape

Lose the superhero cape.

Have you ever been the new kid in school? There's nothing worse then stepping into the cafeteria, looking around, and having no idea where to sit. It's basically a teenager's worst nightmare.

Starting a new job can often feel the same. With cliques in place and relationships established, it's daunting to know that you're starting from square one. Soon you're back as that awkward 15 year old teenager, doing their best to fit in.

Being accepted into a new culture, group, and team takes effort. Multiply that by 100 if you're the new boss. Stepping into new territory means that eyebrows will be raised and backs will be up against the wall. You have no idea if their former manager was loved or revered. Is the culture broken? Are people fed-up? 

This is when leaders want to swoop in and fix the issues. Not so fast. Put that superhero cape away, because the best solution needs a much different approach.

Here are three strategies to win your team over: 

1. Ask for their advice.

The best way to begin a new task is to even the playing field. Just because you're the boss doesn't mean you should come from a place of authority. If you want to be accepted, then you have to adapt to them, not the other way around.

Don't assume that just because the company is flailing, they're willing to make drastic changes (or change at all). You'll be climbing an uphill battle if you start making adjustments without consulting employees first.

Within the first month of your role, invite all staff to share their ideas on how to improve the company. This is a strategic way to not only build connections, but also show them you care about their opinion. Give them a stake in what happens so you're working as a team, rather than a hierarchy.

2. Don't make promises you can't keep. 

Everyone loves the beginning. This phase is all about goal setting, sharing big ideas, and planning the next move. The excitement permeates throughout the workplace as you all conjure what's possible. 

Unfortunately, you can't live in this stage forever. Everyone can have a big idea, but not everyone does something about it. The kind of leader you want to be rests on how much you talk the talk and walk the walk. 

If you want to win over your new staff, then get to work. The worst thing you could do is to have everyone submit their ideas on improving the company, and then leave it in the meeting room. 

Resentment, frustration, and a lack of respect are all side effects of making broken promises. Avoid these pitfalls by constantly keep employees in the loop on the progress of any new changes. Lead from a place of transparency and honesty, otherwise you'll find more enemies than allies.  

3. Stop trying so hard. 

There are certain managers who want to pretend their title doesn't matter. Who grab one-too-many drinks with the team after work, partake in office gossip, or brag about their epic weekend. Don't be this person. 

Being a good leader and 'a cool boss' are very different things. One gains respect, the other gains a reputation. You may want to start off showing your colleagues that you're just like them, but the truth is, you're not. 

Setting boundaries is crucial for your survival. There are all type of ways to fit in, and being considered 'one of the girls or guys' isn't one of them. You're likely to come across more desperate and annoying than valued and liked. 

By Mandy GilbertFounder and chief executive, Creative Niche