Earning the respect of a new team can be difficult for a manager. Whenever employees have to suddenly adjust to a new leader, they tend to raise their guard up.
You can try everything from being extra sensitive to bringing in coffee and donuts on a Friday morning, but they remain in the same state.
It is important to not take this personally. It is natural for a team to react this way. Whether it be a new leader or any sort of new employee, it requires an adjustment period with everyone else involved.
Luckily, with some effort and dedication, it doesn’t have to stay this way. Here are four strategies you can implement to win over the team.
Celebrate Their Accomplishments
Get to know each of your team members and understand what they are most proud of in their time at the company.
Ask about their accomplishments along with where they think they might have fallen short in the past.
As you begin to understand what they enjoy achieving most, celebrate them. For example, perhaps there is a monthly or quarterly contest where the top performers are given an award at the end. Whatever it is, it is not your job to reinvent the wheel. You can hold to these old ways of marking success and empowering your employees.
Get to Know the Team Culture
While getting to understand the team’s beliefs, assumptions and unwritten rules that guide their behavior, there is a chance you may see things differently. It is important to not judge this as you learn about it.
Culture is, in a sense, the glue that holds the group together, and no one likes being told it’s wrong. For example, perhaps the group takes a few more coffee breaks than you are used to.
While over time you’d like to see the team become more productive, it may not be the best idea to implement a 1-2 break per day rule right off the bat.
Join In and Work Alongside Them When Necessary
Employees like to know their boss cares. When times get tough and the pressure is on, don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand and help the team deliver.
For example, if an employee needs help with a particular client, hop on a conference call with them or even go the extra mile by helping with a physical task like stuffing envelopes on an important mailing day or helping move materials in on the day of a big event.
Helping with things like this evens the playing field and shows you work with your team, not over them.
It is important to not wait for people to come to you. Instead, seek them out.
People enjoy being recognized by their peers and leaders alike. Don’t be afraid to start day one by walking around, introducing yourself and getting to know each team member.
Reaching out to a person by going directly to them, and not asking them to come see you, builds instant credibility and trust with your employees. From there you have a solid foundation to build on.