New Manager First Meeting – 5 Things NOT to Do


The new manager first meeting can make or break your first impression with your team.

For new managers at their introductory team meeting as for all new encounters in your career or social life, so much depends on first impressions. Why? Because people tend to size each other up quickly and first impressions are very difficult to reverse or undo.  Opinions are often formed quickly based on appearance, communication style and body language.

The new manager first meeting sets the tone for how your team relates to you as a new supervisor and how you work together going forward. So you want to get it right.

Based upon feedback from thousands of new manager training participants, here are 5 ways NOT to behave if you want the new manager first meeting to go well:

  1. Be rude and disrespectful
    This may seem elementary. But there are lots of ways you can show a lack of respect simply by not using good manners. If you are late to the meeting, for instance, it is only common courtesy to apologize. Otherwise it indicates to your team that you don’t value their time as much as your own. Or let’s say you interrupt someone when they are speaking. How do you think that makes them feel? And if you don’t repair the damage right away, your team may see you as impatient and unwilling to listen to others’ thoughts. Neither of these traits will serve you or your well as you try to work together toward a common goal.
  2. Talk too much about yourself
    Certainly your team will want a brief description of your background and, when appropriate, your working style and your hopes for the team. But this is as much your opportunity to learn about them as their opportunity to learn about you. Leave your ego behind, ask questions and spend more time listening and learning than talking. The team will see you less as ego-driven than as willing to build a collaborative team that is greater than the sum of its parts.
  3. Trash the previous manager
    You may have been brought in to “fix” a broken team, but it is extremely bad form to trash talk the person whose position you now hold. Such disrespectful talk will make your new team members wonder how quickly you’d turn on them. By the same token, you should not allow unproductive finger pointing. One-by-one you will have meetings with your direct reports. Then they can fill you in on what they think needs to be improved. The focus should always be what you can do together to do it better in the future.
  4. Underestimate your team
    Just because the team struggled before to achieve their goals does not mean they are incapable or unwilling. It is your job as manager to harness their talent and energy and support them as they reach ever higher. They will be far more inspired when you set forth a vision of the future than if you scold them for the past.
  5. Appear apathetic
    The team is watching you closely for clues as to how you will lead them. This is the time to show enthusiasm for your new role, your new colleagues and for your future together. Make sure they see you as someone who is glad to be there, who is eager to learn about each and every one of them, and who has confidence that you can successfully navigate the path forward together.

Don’t make being a new manager harder than it needs to be. Think carefully through how you want to be perceived and make sure that first impression of you is a positive one.

To learn more about being an effective new manager, download 3 Must-Have Ingredients of High Performing Teams for New Managers

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