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Top 4 Tips for New Leader Success

It’s never been more critical, expensive or time consuming to hire and onboard leaders in today’s volatile business landscape. As news about hiring difficulties, staff shortages, and rising resignations continue to circulate, now is the time for organizations to make significant investments in the long term health of their business, by being intentional about helping new leaders succeed in their roles.

This is especially important when onboarding new managers – the people tasked with making sure that teams are productive and thriving. Having a New Leader Assimilation process in place helps to ensure that leaders and their teams get off to a strong start. Whether you’re promoting from within or bringing in external hires, putting in time to make sure your people are successful always yields dividends in the long term.

The Benefits of New Leader Assimilation for Your Business

Even with all of the challenges in our VUCA business climate, I find that most organizations are still not explicitly focused on helping people transition into leadership roles. If this support is missing, new leaders can get off to a slow and difficult start – which is detrimental to the team and the organization as a whole. Being pro-active in shaping the new leader experience helps to ensure successful transitions, which in turn elevates the capacity, sustainability, and competitiveness of the organization.

Establish a New Leader Assimilation Process

This process may vary depending on the needs of the team and organization, but this is a broad outline of what assimilating a new leader should look like. It’s an intentional process of opening communication, establishing a framework for success, and providing check points so that questions and trouble points are resolved quickly. With a process in place and clearly explained, leaders should know that they have organizational support in acclimating to their role and meeting the expectations of leadership.

1. Facilitated Introductions

Prior to the position start date, facilitate a meeting between the new leader and team members. The goal of this meeting should be to make introductions, establish open communication, and give the opportunity for questions and response. Prepare the new leader to thoughtfully communicate about their background and excitement for joining the team. Team members should be ready to provide information about their work, needs, and expectations going forward. Creating space for communication before jumping into the day-to-day will build a foundation of engagement and trust so that the team can get off to a successful start.

2. Clarify Expectations and Goals

Establish expectations with the new leader about short and long term goals, and clarify the benchmarks for success. Prepare them with current information about project timelines, in-progress goals, and ongoing challenges. The leader should start the role with confidence that they have all the information and resources needed for smooth sailing in the first 100 days.

3. Connections & Communication

Make high-touch connections between the new leader and the stakeholders most important to their success. Line up on pathways and preferences for communication and informing. Help the new leader understand the culture and the “hidden menu” of the organization, so that they can be successful from the get-go.

4. Follow Ups

Follow up with the new leader at regular intervals in the first year to answer questions, troubleshoot any issues, and make sure team building is going smoothly. You may also want to hold regular check-in sessions with team members to ensure that all lines of communication are staying open. Investing time in regular engagement gives everyone the opportunity to build the long lasting relationships that are key to organizational success.

During periods of turbulence or uncertainty, many organizations tend to look outward to find a solution – new people, new tools, new strategies. This can work for a time, but if you are failing to invest in people after the position start date, it can quickly become a frustrating and expensive cycle.

The good news is, even with today’s talent market challenges, your people strategy just needs attention and investment to thrive. After you hire or promote the right person for a leadership role, continue to be proactive in ensuring that they have the tools for success. It’s about strengthening the organization from the inside first, so that you are equipping a bench of great managers. As a benefit, when you hire in the future, you will have a strong training and development culture already in place to help attract and onboard top talent seamlessly.

Success Labs is a leadership development and management consulting firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than 25 years, our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to grow leaders, build teams and drive results through great people strategy. Contact us to get proactive about expanding your company’s potential, and stay up-to-date with our latest news and leadership development updates here.

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