Community//

A new question for your first 90 days

Getting to know the team. Every new leader does that when they first come on board, right? But how many of you discuss potential in those conversations?

A bunch of people we support at Team Amplify Lab got promoted or got a new job recently. So I’ve been jumping up and down and clapping a lot! I hope this pattern continues, as it’s helping me keep up with my 2020 fitness goals. #twobirdsonestone

Talking to these individuals about their first 90 day-plans, I’ve noticed that something’s missing from how most leaders and team members approach their early days on the job.

I’ll use our friend Andrew to illustrate my point.

IT’S ABOUT YOU.

Andrew is a great guy who leads all sorts of teams to success, and he just took a role on a new team. Hooray and welcome!

Among a ton of other things, getting to know his new team is a top priority. His action steps might look like this:

  • Get an org chart with names and titles
  • Schedule one-on-one sessions to debrief on the names on the org chart and to meet the leadership team
  • Schedule a team meeting (I hope!) to introduce himself and ask get-to-know-you questions

Here’s my issue with this approach:

The org chart has a built-in bias: it prompts him to look at the organization like a machine, and the titles as labels for their working components. When in reality, those titles are assigned to humans with multiple dimensions—and this extraordinary thing called potential.

Brene Brown says it best: “Our deepest human need is to be seen by other people.” This need to be seen is especially real when there’s “a new sheriff in town.” Put yourself in the shoes of someone on Andrew’s team. What would you be feeling? Hopeful? Nervous? A little bit of both? It’s a natural reaction to leadership change when people experience a lack of safety and security.

Imagine for a second if Andrew was able to put aside titles and briefly tell each person why they uniquely matter to the organization in the first thirty days. Would you feel seen? I know I would.

So Andrew, and everyone else in a leadership role, I challenge you to go beyond the titles on the org chart and learn each team member’s potential—why they matter—in your org. 

(And for bonus points, try making a “potential chart” while you’re at it so you can see the potential of the whole org at a glance!)

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU; IT’S ABOUT YOUR TEAM.

It’s time to flip the script. If you’re on Team Andrew, what part do you play in how well his early days turn out—for him and you?

First of all, I get it. Getting a new boss is always weird. Even if you don’t directly report into them, having someone else guiding the direction can be unnerving. 

But take a second and remember a time you pushed yourself to change. It was hard and a bit odd at first. But weren’t you thrilled when you pushed through to the other side? I know I was — every time.  

So now that you’re feeling better (I hope), let’s talk about what typically happens in the first 90-days of having a new boss. You’ll probably have an opportunity to tell Andrew what you’re working on and what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t get to communicate directly, your manager might articulate this on your behalf. 

Here’s the issue. Even in the best-case scenario, what’s shared by you or your manager is only your history. Your history of accomplishments doesn’t tell Andrew the most valuable thing about you: your potential.

True story. I’ve twice (yes, I didn’t learn the first time) had a chance to speak to my boss’s new boss. Both times, I talked about all the amazing things my team had done and how proud I was of all their accomplishments. 

But I forgot to talk about my future-thinking and the ideas that I had. Not surprisingly, both times, I got “changed” out of my role. It was not awesome.

IT’S ABOUT ALL OF US

I hope you’ve been paying attention. Because if you’ve got this far, you now understand that this concept of potential is a big deal. 

For both Andrew and members of Team Andrew, recognizing and sharing how you think and who you uniquely are is key to the success of the first 90 days. So give it a try, and drop me a line if you do.

Oh, and Andrew, remember your team chooses to work with you as much as you choose to work with them.

If you’re even remotely inconsistent with who you are and what you’re all about with your team, then they’ll never find the safe space they need. They won’t believe you when you say, “It’ll be fine.” 

On the other hand, if you help them understand how you think and how to interact with the part of you that got you the job in the first place, you’ll be opening up communication and collaboration big time. 

There’s a second part to Brene’s quote. It says, “… to really be seen and known by someone else.” Remember, she’s talking about a fundamental human need. A need that drives us wherever we are, including the workplace.

Which begs the question, is your team a machine or stored energy?

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Wisdom//

This Is What Amazing Leaders Do Differently

by Shane Snow
Community//

The #1 Reason Why Some Leaders FAIL

by Charlotte Ferreux
Community//

Life and Leadership Lessons I Learned In The Military: “Resilience is the backbone of good leadership” with Elis Salamone and Marco Derhy

by Marco Derhy

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.