When taking on a leadership role within a new organization, there is a lot to manage and consider before even entering the building on your first day. One thing you should spend time thinking about before you arrive is what kind of leader you want to be, or more specifically how you want to lead. You will want to decide on the tone you plan to set and the first impression you want to make to those on your team.
While they say there is never a second chance to make a first impression, for those skilled and effective leaders, making a strong first impression comes fairly naturally. This is because these leaders are confident, genuine and practice intentionality when it comes to leadership. They prioritize getting to know their team as goal number one and have a strong sense of what employees need and expect and how to deliver. Finally, they check their egos at the door, avoid self-promotion and grandstanding and seek opportunities to engage with employees in meaningful ways.
Here are some tactics you can deploy to help improve the first impressions you make or things you can do to course correct professional relationships that need a bit of attention and care.
Be Warm and friendly: while this seems obvious, being friendly, is about being relatable. Consider ways in which you can reveal who you are to others in an open and accessible way.
Be Authentic: from moment one, represent who you are and what you stand for and in clear but non-threatening ways.
Listen and Learn: the best leaders are those who listen and hear. Take the time to ask questions and learn from and about your team. More importantly, encourage team members to ask questions of you and then answer them honestly and directly.
Be Accessible: set aside open door time or specific periods when your team can reach out and connect. Let them know you are here to work with them and for them.
Lead By Example: you will want to set the tone from the moment you walk in the building and lead like everyone is watching.
Practice Vulnerability: be willing to show your true colors and let folks get to know you.
Acknowledge different approaches and applaud a job well done: don’t set out to change things right away. Express your willingness to get a lay of the land, consider varying approaches to tasks and problems and make sure to shout out when you recognize effective and highly productive work.
Motivate: strive to inspire your team from day one. Talk about what you can achieve together by working together.
And while strong first impressions are made quickly, it’s the respect and loyalty of your team that is earned through your leadership, behavior, and actions demonstrated day in and day out. However, the tone you set from moment one, will help tee you up for effective leadership moving forward and for years to come.