If you’re an experienced leader, do you share your pearls of wisdom with your mentees – guiding them towards success? And if you’re a new leader, would you actually listen to the advice of those ahead of you?
At Splash, we work alongside some of the world’s most successful senior executives, responsible for multi-million pound balance sheets and thousands of staff. You might think that their advice to new leaders would be all about asserting authority, letting staff get immediate insight into your new strategy, launching your vision and values early on, and delegating to those around you, etc. But, truth be told, the advice we hear over and over again is that new leaders should first concentrate on listening.
Courtesy of a few key Splash clients, here are some top tips for new leaders:
- Before you start changing things, first listen and learn. See for yourself what’s really going on – what’s working well and what isn’t, where there’s harmony and where there’s conflict. Make sure you listen to as many people as you can – be they clients, stakeholders, colleagues, workers and competitors.
- Almost everything you say to your new team will be scrutinized. So, initially, keep your words short, avoid controversy and put your effort into listening during those vital initial stages. Ask others for their insight and knowledge so that you can see multiple angles or possibilities. Establish yourself a network of indispensable advisors.
- Always be yourself; be real. And that includes knowing your own limits. Be willing to admit that you don’t necessarily know all the answers, but make it a point to inquire, study and learn from the experts in your company. Humility goes a long way towards establishing an open and honest working environment.
- Treat everyone you meet with courtesy, don’t gossip and certainly don’t listen to gossip. Form your own opinions about people by getting to know them.
- Acknowledge your team and show gratitude for their work. Just saying the words “thank you” can help build trust.
- And here’s one piece of advice from Stephen King (President and CEO of GrowthForce): “Most people naturally avoid conflict, so they won’t tell you what they really think unless you ask. Once you ask, they will tell you because you took away the conflict.”
My mother used to say God gave me two ears but only one mouth – and that I should listen double the amount that I talk! Now obviously that can be very challenging if you’re a chatterbox like I am – but perhaps she had a point. Do we listen enough? If we’re honest, then probably not.
What are your top tips for new leaders?
If you would like to learn more about experiential leadership training and how get the best from your staff then reach out to Splash Projects. For more information, contact [email protected].