Helping your new team to trust you takes time.
Do you ever wish your new team would talk to your last team? That would save so much precious time. If you could just get your new team to trust you, you’d get on to making your usual magic. But it’s never as simple as that. If you’re good, you may feel you deserve a better reception from your new team. You may warrant a warm reception, but they don’t know you, the last guy was a jerk (or a superstar), and they’re still recovering.
7 Ways to Get Your New Team to Trust You
1. Don’t Badmouth their Last Manager
If they had a poor leader before you, the more you listen, the worse the stories will sound. Or perhaps they had a superstar whose shoes you need to fill. It might tempt you to trash the guy before you. It may feel good and make you feel like a hero, but you don’t want to go there. Build your credibility on your own merits. No good ever comes from tearing down another person. Besides, you never know the whole story. Listen, reflect the emotions you hear (eg: that sounds like it was frustrating – or awesome), then let it go, and focus on your leadership. And while you’re listening …
2. Go One by One
The best way to get to know a new team is one person at a time. Invest deeply one-on-one. Learn about what they need, what they want, and what they most yearn to give. Get to know each person as a human being.
3. Listen and then Listen More
One powerful listening technique begins as you meet with each team member individually. Ask each person these vision-building questions:
- At our very best, what do you think this team can achieve?
- What do we need to do to get there?
- As the leader of the team, how can I help us get there?
These questions get everyone thinking about the future, not lingering in the past.
4. Share Stories
The team longs for signs you are credible and competent. Share a bit about your leadership track record of results—framing it with stories of what your previous teams could achieve (not what you achieved). You want them thinking about how awesome they can be, not how awesome you are.
5. Get Some Early Wins
Find two or three achievable goals that will help create a sense of momentum. Nothing builds credibility faster than success. Generate some early wins to build confidence.
6. Let them see you
Tell the truth. Be vulnerable. Let them know who you are, what scares you, and what excites you. Show up human. Your new team needs your authenticity.
7. Prove That They Matter
As you get to know them as human beings, meet each person where they are. Help the person who wants exposure to get visibility. Help the one who wants to grow to learn a new skill. Take a bullet or two when things go wrong. Give them the credit when it goes well.
The team needs to know you care about them and their careers at least as much as you care about your own. First impressions matter, for you and for them. Don’t judge their early skeptical behavior, or assume they’re disengaged or don’t care. If they sense your frustration, that will only increase their defensiveness.
Every relationship takes time and getting your new team to trust you is no different. When you invest deeply at the beginning, you’ll build a strong foundation for long-term, breakthrough results.
We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment and share your #1 way to help your new team to trust you.
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