(real) Advice for a New Leader

5 tips to start off strong with your team

Congrats! You’re a new leader at your organization…now what?! When you start your job as a leader of a team, here are five key actions to build trust, connection, and culture with your staff from day one.

New Leader To-Dos:

  1. Schedule weekly 1:1s with your team members and create a personalized shared document to track agendas and notes.
  2. Schedule monthly or bi-monthly team meetings with a shared agenda document.
  3. Set up a team Slack/Teams channel and post regularly to build relationships and share your personality and work style with them.
  4. Be honest and upfront about your managerial style and expectations.
  5. Ask lots of questions, observe the team culture, and allow each team member to own their projects and show you how they work before intervening.

Good leadership requires intention. By creating structure, reliable meetings, and personal connections, you’re easing staff’s fears of having a new boss and cultivating a positive team culture!

In the beginning, I use the phrase, “My expectations on this project are…” to be super clear about what I expect from my new staff. I agree with Harvard Business Review, that you shouldn’t impose your management style on your team and you should be adaptable to other work styles—but I also think you should be clear and upfront about how you work and what you expect from your team.

Clear communication is a gift and will help you avoid awkward misfires on projects. When in doubt, be clear and direct about what you’re looking for in a project. Staff would rather know what is expected of them instead of trying to figure it out on their own and possibly get it wrong. Ease the stress and eliminate confusion!

Pro tip: Send the calendar invites and create the shared docs to show that you’re willing to carry the load with your staff and that you will take the time to plan and organize with them.

Want to build your skills as a new leader? Sign up for coaching!


Shannon Bowen, Founder + CEO of Monsoon Leadership is a career advancement coach, job search expert, salary whisperer, nonprofit executive, and a lifelong straight-talker. She's dedicated to helping nonprofit professionals land their dream job and dream salary!


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