A couple of weeks back, I shared some thoughts about starting a new role and received several messages. This week's blog is about your first true leadership meeting together.
Don't mistake the first meeting for the first true meeting.
The first meeting will be warm and fuzzy; people will generally be courteous, except potentially the person who wanted the job and just missed out. Be kind to this person; even if they are waiting for you to trip up, make sure you are not preoccupied with them and don't exclude them. Others will be watching, and the best approach is to treat everyone the same, strive for consistency and set the conditions for an open constructive environment.
The first "true meeting" will probably be an offsite unless there is a crisis. If you encounter a crisis before then, be calm and avoid judging the situation. Seek to focus on the facts of the crisis and not the people who may have caused it. This assessment, if required, can be undertaken at a later time privately. See the crisis as an opportunity to create an environment of open communication.
Your first true meeting will be half-day or day together. Ideally, you want to have thought about this before starting in your role and if possible, schedule it in the first few weeks. Avoid the temptation of wanting to know everything before taking people to the offsite; use the offsite to allow people to share information about their area of responsibility, and possibly a portion of their team may be present. Most importantly, make the time to allow people to share something about themselves.
Also, avoid the temptation of wanting to facilitate the session yourself. You want to be listening and considering your response to set the tone. It is exceptionally difficult to do both. Working with an external facilitator can offer some reflections, keep the agenda focused on the outcome and be flexible in how the group arrives at these. Feel free to make contact to discuss the above in more detail, 80% of my work now is offsites and workshops. Next week's blog will be an agenda for your offsite.