Use One-on-One’s So You’re Not a Blockhead as a New Boss

Most of us have had a new boss at some stage in our careers and know that new bosses can be tough. Perhaps they are difficult because very few of them have been taught the ins-and-outs of being an effective new manager.

This lack of preparation creates anxiety and problems for not only you as their new leader, but also for your direct reports. Whether or not they liked their old boss, your new direct reports have to “re-train” you regarding their contributions, skills, knowledge, and expertise. Any goodwill they had enjoyed with their previous boss is now diminished.

While a blank slate can be refreshing for many, it can be terrifying for others. As a new leader, you should start by putting yourself in the shoes of your new team members. Your first priority should be to get to know them individually as people and to gather their perspective on the current situation in terms of what is working and what is not.

To start off on the right foot, allow your direct reports to influence you and feel appreciated by setting up bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with each of them. Use the time to understand their contributions, solve their problems, uncover their aspirations, get their advice, and gauge their engagement levels. You will have time to find your bearings and assess your team; and they will respect your interest in and commitment to them.