Secrets of Highly Successful Team Leaders
Career Advice

The Most Important Thing You Need to Do in a New Role

Starting a new role is daunting.

I’ve been in that situation many times and while the excitement of getting promoted or getting accepted in a new organization is quite wonderful, that feeling of   “what now” can be terrifying.

But there is one important thing that you absolutely need to do that will help tremendously in easing in on a role. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of important things to do.

The first 100 days in a new role is important. And regardless of what role you’re going to be in – front line, Supervisor, Manager, Director or higher, I believe this is the single most important theme of your first 100 days.

It’s to build relationships.

The workplace is built on relationships. Whether it’s a strong one or not is another topic but it’s mainly about relationships.

There are 4 main reasons why you must significantly spend your time on this effort.

1

It sets a good foundation in your new role.

Building relationships is a great way to set the foundation for your success in the workplace. Whether you handle a team or an individual contributor, relationships can either make your work life great or toxic.

To start building meaningful relationships, you must have the right mindset for it. Remember that relationships take time to happen. It needs to be nurtured.

And it starts with you wanting to have genuine and authentic relationships with the people you work with and work for.

So best to start as soon as you begin your employment if it’s a new company or start BEFORE you apply for a promotion.

2

It builds your network.

In my career of over 16 years, I have been referred in ALL the companies I ever worked for. The most recent one, I was referred by one of the colleagues I worked with in my 1st ever job as a call center agent.  

This is the fruit of building relationships with people over the years.

A genuine connection can do wonders in your career. And you’ll be surprised of how much it can even open your chances in opportunities you don’t even know or much more dream about.

In 2011, I got offered a job to move to Egypt as a Business Director. I would never have dreamed of working in the Middle East much more hold a great role had I not built a genuine relationship with my former boss.

Build your network every day.

This is what highly talented leaders and employees do.  And this is not just meeting people, it’s creating a bridge and a connection that will bloom over time.

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3

It shows your maturity as a Professional.

I have worked with managers and colleagues in the past that have explicitly said that talking to people is not a priority unless it’s a requirement.

While this approach can work. It’s not sustainable and not a mindset that will build meaningful relationships.

If you’re in a leadership post, building relationships is a must and since you’re a in position of power, the approach on how you build, keep and nurture the relationship will make a difference.

It shows your maturity to adapt to the work environment and your initiative to make your work life purposeful and not just a job that pays the bills.

4

It makes communication much better.

Do you have that colleague that keeps to himself and suddenly demand help from you? I bet you are not as helpful as much as that other colleague of yours that you have a better relationship with.

It’s not because you don’t like that person, it’s just that you have no connection. Therefore, the request is not that welcome, much more the demands.

If the relationship has been established, then requests and work that needs to be done gets done faster and with enthusiasm.

Toxic co-workers who escalate unnecessarily and throw you under the bus make the job harder than it really is.

I remember my conversation with one of my previous co-workers who was just recently employed in a Fortune 500 company. She said that the work itself is easy. She had the technical skills to do a great job. But she said that her co-workers make the job hard and she’s already thinking about quitting.

Therefore, it’s imperative to build relationships because it makes communication with colleagues easier and get things done so much faster.

Why It’s Important to not only Build Relationships but build Meaningful ones

As you start your new role, it’s crucial that you not only build relationships but build meaningful ones.

A meaningful relationship is built on trust, open communication and genuine connection. Here are some tips on how to get started:

Tip # 1
 Be the FIRST to Make a Move

Believe me this works wonders.

Making the first move to build a relationship goes a long way. Go ahead and send the meeting invite, go up to your colleagues to say Hi and introduce yourself, email them to say Hi and get introductions arranged with other coworkers etc.

This behavior talks about your initiative and leadership skills that make you likeable and one of the secrets of highly successful team leaders.

Tip # 2
 Be Responsive

Being able to respond to queries and request quickly is another deposit in the relationship bank.

Being responsive means that you value your time and your colleague’s time.

This is reinforcing the value of respect which is key in any role.

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Tip # 3
Meet your Boss and Gather Expectations

Since you are new to the role, it’s best to reset expectations with your boss.

Ask him/her about key deliverable that you will be responsible for and how you can make it better. This will go a long way in building the foundation of your relationship with your boss but also reinforce your ownership in the new role.

I suggest that after the 1st meeting, take the initiative to schedule follow up sessions. This will reset and manage your boss expectations of you.

Tip # 4
Meet with Key Stakeholders

Since you’ve set up those meetings, make sure to make the most of these interactions.

Make sure to prepare for your meetings. Read reports from the department, feedback from colleagues and how you can bridge with the stakeholders.

In the meeting, make sure to ask about pain points and what help they need on.

Do not make a commitment to fix any issues that they raise in this meeting. It’s too soon to commit and this can set you up for failure especially if you have not been immersed that well into the process or people that may affect the outcome.

Respectfully said that you’ll investigate it and that you can follow up later.

In this meeting, make sure that you close the meeting positively and that you’ll regularly get in touch. This gives you the avenue to reach out again and not only when you need them.

Tip # 5
Follow Through on Commitments

As you get to know the people and the teams that will be critical to your work, you will build a laundry list of things to do and commitments.

Whatever this may be, make sure to follow through. Always remember this quote: “Action speaks louder than words.”

You may have the best of intentions when you made the commitment but if your colleagues or stakeholders do not hear back from you, their perceptions will form and believe me, it’s not going to be a good one.

This will dampen the relationship and a step back from your efforts.

Tip # 6
Be Nice

This does not mean be a pushover. This means being mindful of your behavior by opting to look at situations positively vs. with animosity.

 This means making a genuine effort to be nice to colleagues, your team and your boss.

So, in times when you’re about to be frustrated and about to lash out in a meeting because of a deliverable not being met, take a deep breath and opt to be nice.

Do no throw anybody under the bus and feel good about it. This will make relationships tensed and believe me, this is one of the hardest things to fix.

If you want to make people accountable, there are ways to do it without having to result to email wars or all out yelling matches in a meeting.

Remember in the end, nobody wins in these situations. If anything, it is the start of disasters.

Related Post: 8 Surprising Reasons Why Being Nice Gets the Job Done

How to build meaningful relationships at work
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Tip # 7
Schedule Catch Ups Regularly

This does not mean be a pushover. This means being mindful of your behavior by opting to look at situations positively vs. with animosity.

 This means making a genuine effort to be nice to colleagues, your team and your boss.

So, in times when you’re about to be frustrated and about to lash out in a meeting because of a deliverable not being met, take a deep breath and opt to be nice.

Do no throw anybody under the bus and feel good about it. This will make relationships tensed and believe me, this is one of the hardest things to fix.

If you want to make people accountable, there are ways to do it without having to result to email wars or all out yelling matches in a meeting.

Remember in the end, nobody wins in these situations. If anything, it is the start of disasters.

Tip # 8
Participate in Engagement Activities

I’ve observed that highly engaged employees and teams  are supportive in engagement activities. I noticed that these folks have a good relationship with each other and genuinely support each other at work too.

In your new role, it’s important that you participate in these activities as these events build memories. It builds a connection and even makes the team work better.

When you participate, you take initiative and demonstrate willingness to have fun with your team and colleagues. This helps build your credibility as a leader and builds a bridge to your co-workers.

Related Post: 31 Team Engagement Activities that will Build a Great Work Environment

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Tip # 9
Apologize

Nobody is perfect. Yet I find people in the workplace that doesn’t want to recognize their misses and apologize.

If you truly want to build a relationship with your co-workers and team, be humble enough to admit your mistakes and apologize.

Saying those 2 magic words – “I’m Sorry” will build your leadership and ownership. It will not destroy it.

And more importantly, it will be a major factor in building meaningful relationships at work.

The act of humility is about ownership and respect. Respect for your co-workers and the value of ownership to you.

It means that it doesn’t matter whoever is right or wrong. And that the value of the relationship is much more important than issues.

Tip # 10
Listen More

You’d be surprised how many broken relationships could’ve been prevented if only colleagues or bosses listen. And this is not the part where you listen to come back with a rebuttal.

This is genuine active listening.

This is looking through the tone or the approach and zeroing in on the message. This is about understanding the perspective of another person regardless of position or role.

Listening and truly looking at the perspective of another person will not only build a relationship with your co-workers or bosses, but it will also build a lasting one.

Related Post: How to Master Listening in the Work Place

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So, there you have it!

Building a relationship is a lot of work. You need to nurture it and be committed to it so that it will grow and eventually bloom.

While it’s not the easiest thing to do, this career tip is the most impactful thing you can do especially as you start a new role.

Don’t hesitate to start soon. Believe me, the benefits far outweigh all the effort you’ll put in.

More importantly, building meaningful relationships will help you build a career that will help solidify your leadership and competency over time.

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About Daisy Casio

Daisy Casio is a Passionate Operations Leader with over 16 years of work experience in various leadership roles. She has run diverse teams in multiple locations and has built teams from the ground up. She is the Founder of ChampLeaders Blog dedicated to transforming leaders to Champions. She writes about leadership, management, productivity, career tips, team engagement and many more. 

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