“Wherever you are, be all there.”
–Jim Elliot

We’re in the middle of a season that has been called “The Great Resignation.” From Tim Elmore over at GrowingLeaders: “According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the months of April, May, and June of 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. Recent studies indicate it’s likely not over. A survey of over 30,000 workers conducted by Microsoft found that 54 percent are considering quitting; Gallup found that 48 percent of employees are actively searching for new opportunities. Persio reported that 38 percent of participants plan to make a change in the next six months.”

That is a significant number of employees who are saying that they’d rather be somewhere else.

I’m going to do a series of posts with this backdrop – what does the Great Resignation mean for leaders? What should we be thinking about with regard to our teams, with regard to our organizational health, and with regard to our own personal leadership.

One question I’ve gotten lately from leaders who are considering a move, or who have just made a move, is “what are some things I can do to make this a solid, positive start as I begin with a new team or organization?”

I believe asking the right questions are how you get the right answers. And this is the right question!

It doesn’t matter if you are a new leader or a leader with decades of experience. I believe this list is helpful for any leader making a move.

1. Connect with people

John Maxwell describes this as putting people first. It’s easy to get bogged down in tasks, goals, planning – but people are the main thing for ANY organization!

As you begin as a new leader for a team or organization, prioritize connecting with people. Listen to their stories, to their dreams, to their hearts. As you get to know them, you will learn how best to lead them to accomplish the tasks and goals that are necessary.

2. Be clear

Dave Ramsey says, “Clarity is kindness.” We often try to be nice and soft-pedal at first. Resist that urge. Be clear. Be clear about expectations, as you review performance, as you set goals, as you share feedback. Not knowing where you stand is incredibly frustrating. Not knowing what the goals are or how you’re doing with regard to achieving them is even more so!

3. Evaluate ruthlessly but quietly

This does NOT mean that you share all your evaluative thoughts at first! Remember Stephen Covey’s timeless advice: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” You might not know the whole story, or why things are done a certain way. Listen. Make notes, evaluate, mind map ideas – for sure. But keep your own counsel at first.

Coming into a new team or organization, you’re going to have what I call “fresh eyes.” Those are invaluable! So often over time we become blind to what is blindingly obvious to someone new. Write down what you observe. Take notes after conversations, or at the end of the day when thoughts are freshest. Evaluate ruthlessly – but quietly at first.

4. Ask good questions

A new leader needs to be FULL of questions! Why should be one of the most used words in your vocabulary. Take notes as you ask and listen. In my experience, the best leaders always have something to write with and write on/in! Fill that notebook, that Evernote note, or that binder up. I love what the great interviewer Larry King said, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. I never learned anything while I was talking.”

Leaders are insatiable learners. Asking good questions is a phenomenal way to learn.

What would you add to this list for leaders considering a new place and new opportunities?


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