Leadership is not based on seniority or title. In fact, leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power. A leader’s ability to have influence with others is based on trust; in fact, a leader’s influence expands in proportion to the amount of trust that exists in a relationship.
Too often when leading a team, leaders fall into one of the pitfalls we’ve identified that may derail building trust when leading a new team.
Pitfall 1 – Bait and Switch
Hiring and or placing employees in roles that they did sign-on to undertake without talking to them and giving them all they need to be successful can be detrimental. Moving team members into unknown territory where they’re not knowledgeable, and then expecting them to meet the challenge, can create distrust, disengagement, and low morale. These are some of the reasons that people leave their organization.
Successful leaders hire/assign roles to the team based on their experience and strengths, and let them shine. They understand that part of their role as a leader is to help the team members understand their roles, provide the tools necessary, and offer support, when needed, through training or mentoring.
Pitfall 2 – Unclear Communication
Good leaders know the importance of clear communication. The clearer you can be from the start, the better. You cannot assume that your team understands what you’re asking them to do. Just because it’s clear to you doesn’t mean it is to them. People operate from their best level of understanding – which might not be accurate. People are not mindreaders. If your team appears to be struggling to follow your direction, you have to question whether you provided a blueprint for success.
Pitfall 3 – Leaving out the Why
Many times, when we give people a task, we leave out the most important piece – the “why.” We often have no difficulty providing the “what” and the “how,” but without the “why” it’s easy for others to misunderstand a request and head down the wrong path. It has been proven that when leaders can share the “why”, team members are able to more closely align and achieve goals.
While there are other pitfalls that leaders can face when leading a new team, ensuring that these pitfalls are avoided will place you and your new team on the path to success.