In episode 2 of this min-series on how to successfully take over a new team, we are going to piggyback off of the introduction session you had yesterday with the team, introducing yourself, and in this phase, you are going to focus on team member introductions.
You have already led by example. You have shared some personal information about yourself, you have told them what you stand for as a leader, and what matters to you. Now you need to learn them. So let’s talk through a few questions you need them to answer to help with that.
First, ask them to share whatever they feel comfortable sharing about themselves. It’s critically important that you say “whatever they feel comfortable sharing” so they don’t feel as though they have to step outside of their personal brand to share whatever you have asked them to share. This will diminish their trust in you that you are working so hard to build. So, again ask them to share whatever they feel comfortable sharing about themselves.
First, before we go any further, please DO NOT play games as part of the introduction process! I’m begging you! As a person who lived in the corporate world for almost 12 years, don’t do it! Think about it for a second. When you get into a relationship, what do you hate? Games. Why? Because you can’t build trust with that person if they play games. But what are you trying to build with these team members? A relationship. Because you need what? Trust. So should you play a game? 👊 Boom. Now you have it.
So what should you do? Give them a few ideas to get their mind focused on the right information to share. You can put the questions on a slide. On a handout. Or you can email it to them for the meeting you are going to hold tomorrow. The point is to get the questions in front of them, and then give them time to think before they have to answer. Again, help them find their comfort zone. An example prompt could be: ” Tell us what you feel comfortable sharing about yourself, some ideas could be things like: your family, pets, school, sports teams, what you do for fun, etc.”
The second piece of information you want them to share is something they stand for that you will see in their work. In other words, ask them about their brand. An example way to ask this is: “Tell me one thing you stand for that I will see displayed in your work.” This is important because once they tell you this, you can look for it and praise it right out of the gate. Everyone likes praise, so now you have something you can immediately praise each person on. (Note: It will also help you determine if they are a good fit for your team. If they don’t have something they stand for . . . do you want them on the team?)
When they share, take notes! Write down everything they share. Your goal is to immediately start to create a personal relationship with them. If you have more than 2 people on your team, the likelihood of you remembering everything and getting it all right in the future is not guaranteed without some notes. So take them. Hang on to them. And use them in your conversations going forward.
Also, while they are talking, please don’t interrupt them. This is their time. Let them have it. If you do have a question, ask it at the end. And when you ask, be humble about it. “Hey, I have a question for you if you don’t mind.” Or, “I have a question, and if you don’t feel comfortable answering that’s ok.” Give them permission to not answer. That builds the respect for you and the trust they will have in you.
Today’s challenge is to create this framework of how you will do team member introductions. Create it now so you have it for the future.