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Run First Team Meeting as a New Manager

Run First Team Meeting as a New Manager

As a new manager, the first time running a team meeting can be a daunting task and experience.  Your new team will look to see how you perform and handle the meeting and will base their judgments on your ability to properly lead a team meeting.

Today, we are going to discuss how to run a team meeting as a new manager and what mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.  Although running your first team meeting, particularly with a new team, can be daunting and anxiety-inducing, the tips and tricks below should help you to overcome those fears.

First Thing First: Build Trust

As a new manager, your team may be wary of your experience, your ability to lead, and your effectiveness at the role.  This is common and understandable.  So, as a new manager, when you begin your first team meeting, you will want to build trust and honesty with your team.

Although the goal for most team meetings is to allow members on the team to catch-up and provide status updates, the first meeting should solely focus on building trust between your team and yourself. 

Rather than charting out your vision or declaring changes that need to be implemented, you should focus on the aspect of trust and establish a tone for respect.  You will be able to discuss status updates and follow-ups in the following meetings.

As a new leader to a new team, you will want to impart trust immediately.  This can be done by showing your team that you are worthy of their trust, that you are humble and ready to learn, and that your intentions are to help the team and every member on it.

While this may seem ineffective, and ultimately passive, in approach, you have to remember that you are new on the team.  And your team will naturally be skeptical of your approach.  So, although it may be tempting to come in ready to implement change, you will only be seen as arrogant and misguided.  Rather, focus on building trust from the get-go and your vision will be easier to achieve with the backing of your entire team.

Get to Know Your Team on a Personal Level

One of the best ways to build and gain trust among your team is to get to know each one personally and individually.  While you will still want to maintain levels of professionalism, you should not be afraid to have a personal relationship built on mutual understanding.

One of the best ways to get to know your team better is through asking them ice-breaker level questions.  You will want to avoid any questions that are too personal or questions which could appear biased.  We’ve provided a list of good questions to ask below:

  • What was your fist job?
  • What did you major in college?
  • Where did you go to college?
  • What books are you reading now?
  • Who is someone you really admire?
  • Why do you enjoy working here?
  • Have you seen any good movies lately that you would recommend?
  • Have you been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
  • Have you been anywhere exciting recently?
  • What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

In Addition, Share Who You Are

When it comes to learning how to run a team meeting as a new manager, the emphasis on trust must be a two-way street.  While you should take the chance, and time, to get to know your direct reports, you will also want to share a bit about yourself and who you are.

This should be more than just surface level information.  Again, you are coming in as an outsider to a team that may already be well-established.  Gaining their trust is paramount and can only be done if you yourself are honest with them.

So, when you introduce yourself, you should show who you really are.  What motivates you, what inspires you, and what brings you fulfillment. The more real you appear, the more willing your team will be to trust you.

Other than being honest about yourself, you can share your leadership philosophy: What is the purpose of a manager?  What are your values?  Who do you look up to and why?  What really drew you to the organization?  From the get-go, share your intentions and your philosophy. Let your team understand that you are here to help and to be a source of assistance in their careers.

But don’t only focus on your work life.  Be sure to share your personal side ass well.  What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  Where do you live?  Where have you lived?  What is your favorite restaurant?  Be personable, engaging, and open.

Let it be Understood That You’re in Learning Mode

When it comes to running a team meeting as a new manager, it is widely understood that you may not be fully up to speed, yet.  Whether you’ve just started the position or have been there for a month or so, it is important to let your team know that you are still learning and understanding the inner intricacies of the company.

A huge basis in trust is the ability to be vulnerable.  Rather than pretending to know everything, let your team know that you are actively working on learning the nuances and intricacies needed to make their life easier.  Let them know that you may need to ask them questions and rely on their expertise.

Build Collaboration from the Get-Go

While you should look to ask personal, icebreaker questions in a one-on-one environment, it is also important to do so collectively and as a team.  While these questions don’t have to be intrinsically personal in nature, they should be effective in steering the department to be better and more effectively run.

You can use a few examples from below to help you set the stage and begin a collaborative discussion amongst all members of the team:

  • What do you want to change in the team?
  • What do you think should remain the same?
  • What have you been nervous to discuss?
  • What topics or issues have been frustrating for you?
  • What project or task has been motivating for you?
  • When have you felt micromanaged?
  • How do you prefer to work?
  • Who was your best boss? Why?
  • How do you like to be shown appreciation? What about criticism?

However, as you learn to run a team meeting as a new manager, it is important to listen to the words and context your team is stating.  Takes notes while they are discussing what they do and don’t prefer, ask follow-up questions, and ask for specifics.  Make sure that nothing is lost in translation!

Be Proactive and Be Prepared!

Nothing is worse than a manager who asks good questions but doesn’t follow-up appropriately.  You definitely don’t want to be that manager.  Rather, take the feedback from your team and be proactive in implementing their suggestions.

Nothing will help you gain their trust as quickly as showing your team that you listen and act on their recommendations.  Doing so will help to show them that you care and that you are a leader who is decisive and can make an impact.

While learning how to run a team meeting as a new manager, you should also be prepared for hard, difficult, and uncomfortable questions.  Your new team will be looking to you for answers and for help with their problems.  The best advice is to simply answer as honestly as possible.  Let the team know your vision, your thoughts, and your philosophy. Let them know when you don’t know but that you will conduct the needed follow-ups.

Although these questions may be tough in the beginning, it will give you an opportunity to showcase your honesty and your ability to listen.  Don’t forget, you’re a new manager there and you are looking to help your team.  Let them know that and the rest will fall into place.

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