I was recently asked by a young sales professional for some advice regarding her handling the move into management at one of her company’s satellite stores. My advice to her was to remember that her first day on the job would be her most important day on the job.
Remember that first impressions count. Whether you intend to or not, you are going to build your brand as a leader early on. Getting off on the right foot is critical. The biggest mistake that you can make initially is to adopt the attitude that “there’s a new sheriff in town and things are going to change!”
Don’t try to assert yourself as the new leader by force, because it likely won’t work. Your staff members will be resentful and push back. Get to know your team’s players – and let them get to know you. This helps to establish a more efficient rapport and opens the door for your employees to give you feedback and collaborate with you.
Before you can be an effective leader, you must first earn your employees respect and trust. This will happen on its own timeline. When you sense that this attitude shift is occurring, then you can begin to ramp up your expectations of the team. It’s only natural for a new manager to want to hit the ground running, but sometime you need to slow down to speed up. Only when the foundation is established can you begin to build upward.