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5 tips for new leaders

Congratulations on your promotion to be a new leader! You are about to begin an exciting and rewarding journey. At the same time, you may feel a little bit scared. After all, leading a team for the first time is daunting. And there is a lot on your plate. But you know that eventually you’ll develop into the best leader you can be. After all, researches by psychologists have proved that leaders are mostly made – one-third born and two-thirds made1,2.

Here are 5 tips for new leaders from some of the best leadership development experts. (Skip Richard, Mary Shapiro, Michael Watkins, Suzi McAlpine, etc.,)

  • Hire the right people

It’s super important to hire the right people. Take your time—do your due diligence, request reliable references, and don’t rush into a new hire just to fill an empty seat. When you hire, hire people who are aligned with your team’s vision, mission, goals, and core values.

  • Reward the good behavior

Remember the old saying: you get what you reward? This also holds true for building an exceptional team, free of toxic personalities. Reward the good behavior you want to see more of, and you’ll get more of that.

  • Communicate clearly and often

Establish clear goals for each team members and communicate them clearly and often. Tell your team your preferred ways of communication and set up regular one on ones. Walk them through how you gauge progress, so that they understand what’s expected of them. If you cannot keep an all-time open door policy, make sure to at least set aside some time for that. In the early days, over-communicating is preferable to the alternative, meaning more touch points and more check-ins.

  • Build trust and establish candid relationships with your team members

One of your first priorities should be to get to know your team members very well. This is the first step to bonding with the team and establishing their respect and trust. Listen to your team members carefully to learn their aspirations, challenges and strengths. Only then can you formulate a leadership approach tailored to each of your team members. Remember that your relationships are core to your job as a leader. Having candid relationships with your team is key to your team’s and your own personal success.

  • Lead by example

John Wooden once said "The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example". Be open, honest and passionate about what you and your team do. Seek and give feedbacks as often as possible and in a timely manner. Be fair to everyone, treat them with respect and do not play favorites.  

You may not be the best boss in the very beginning, but you will eventually become one as long as you keep learning and practicing.

1. Arvey, R. D., Rotundo, M., Johnson, W., Zhang, Z., & McGue, M. (2006). The determinants of leadership role occupancy: Genetic and personality factors. Leadership Quarterly, 17, 1-20.
2. Arvey, R. D., Zhang, Z., Avolio, B. J., & Kreuger, R.F. (2007). Developmental and genetic
determinants of leadership role occupancy among women. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 693-706.

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