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5 Ways to Ace Your First Meeting with Employees as a New Manager

5 Ways to Ace Your First Meeting with Employees as a New Manager

Stepping into a management role for the first time can be an overwhelming yet exciting experience. It’s a path filled with new possibilities, but also uncertainties and nerves. As a new manager, you’re not just relying on your technical skills anymore; you’re also expected to lead, motivate, and steer your team towards success.

A key milestone in this journey is your first meeting with your staff. This initial meeting is your chance to make a strong first impression. How you present yourself, share your goals, and tackle any issues that come up can really set the tone for your time as a leader.

This article will discuss the challenges new managers often face and provide guidance on how to shine in your first staff meeting, giving you a solid start in your management role.

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We all understand the power of first impressions. According to this article by Psychology Today, people tend to get attached to their initial impressions of others and find it very difficult to change their opinion, even when presented with lots of evidence to the contrary. As a manager, the last thing you want is to start off on the wrong foot by appearing unreliable or untrustworthy. That’s why preparation is crucial for your first meeting with your new team.

Before you meet your team, take the time to do your homework on both the team members and the company. This shows that you’re dedicated to your role and genuinely interested in the team’s success. If you can, reach out to their previous manager to get insights into the team’s dynamics, individual roles, personalities, and more. If you go into the meeting without this information, waiting for the team to fill you in, you might come across as indecisive or overly dependent on guidance — not the impression you want to make as a leader.

It’s also a good idea to prepare what you’re going to say in advance. Even though you might feel confident enough to improvise thanks to your experience and the research you’ve done, you can never be too prepared for first introductions. Every detail counts. Practice your introduction speech in front of a mirror a few times to make sure it’s just right. Trust me, the first impression goes a long way. 

2. Lead by Example:

Research shows that leading by example encourages a genuine buy-in from your followers, instead of making people feel like they have to do something. Nobody appreciates being bossed around or following orders just because someone is in charge. If you don’t walk the talk, your team is unlikely to take your words seriously. If you expect your team to meet certain standards, it’s crucial that you embody those standards yourself.

The concept is straightforward. Always hold yourself to a higher standard than you expect from others. If punctuality is important to you, make sure you’re not just on time for meetings, but early. If you value effective communication and open-mindedness, make sure you listen attentively to what your team members have to say and approach discussions with a positive and optimistic mindset. If you stay humble despite your greater experience and knowledge, your team will learn humility and open-mindedness through your example. If you’re aiming for a relaxed and friendly work environment, then be approachable and friendly yourself. Your actions will naturally set the tone for the team’s culture.

3. Help Them Get to Know You:

Feedback and open communication are key to successful team collaboration. When your team encounters a challenge or discovers a better way to do something than what you suggested, it’s important for them to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts openly so the whole team can grow and improve together. To make this possible, establishing trust with your team from the start is essential.

In your first meeting with your team, it’s important to show that you’re a well-rounded, genuine person, not just someone hiding behind a title. Share both personal and professional stories about yourself to create a sense of connection and show your human side. This approach can help break down walls and make team members feel more at ease working with you. Demonstrate that you genuinely care about them as individuals and their well-being. Share details about your leadership approach, mindset, how you communicate, your habits, and so on, as thoroughly as possible, to lay a solid groundwork for future collaboration.

4. Plan Questions Ahead of Time:

Although you should ideally have a good understanding of your team and your role before the meeting starts, it’s impossible to know everything. There will be aspects that require in-person discussion for a deeper insight. When preparing for your meeting, jot down everything you need more clarity on and come up with thoughtful questions to ask during the meeting.

Asking questions demonstrates that you’ve put considerable thought into your preparation, because questions naturally emerge from deep and intelligent thinking. This helps create an image of you as a smart, hands-on leader right from the start. It shows that you’re committed to their success and value their opinions.

Additionally, these questions can provide you with a clearer view of the team’s current processes, challenges, and opportunities. These are crucial pieces of information you need to gather as soon as possible to effectively plan your and your team’s work.

5. Close Strong:

Meetings are essentially a trade-off where you exchange time for decisions. Meetings that don’t result in decisions are a waste of time. A strong wrap-up not only leaves a lasting impression but also shows your dedication to teamwork and progress, setting a good example for how future meetings under your leadership should be conducted.

Conclude the meeting on a high note by summarizing the main points, establishing clear expectations for upcoming meetings, and addressing any concerns raised by team members. Invite team members to contribute to the conclusions in case you’ve overlooked anything. This demonstrates that you don’t monopolize decision-making and that you value each person’s contributions and independence.

Conclusion

In conclusion, taking on a leadership role with a new team is a crucial moment that shapes future interactions and the team’s overall atmosphere. The strategies we’ve discussed—from being well-prepared and setting a good example, to encouraging open communication and thinking ahead—are key to building a strong, cooperative, and effective team.

By coming prepared, demonstrating the behaviors you want to see in your team, building trust, asking meaningful questions, and ensuring meetings are focused and productive, you establish yourself not just as a boss, but as a dependable, friendly, and innovative mentor. This approach doesn’t just make your first meetings more effective; it also creates a foundation for a culture based on mutual respect, open dialogue, and ongoing growth.

Leadership isn’t merely about giving orders; it’s about motivating, understanding, and advancing alongside your team. By following these principles, you won’t just leave a lasting first impression; you’ll also create a team environment that’s primed for success, creativity, and shared accomplishments.

Meet Huddles: Your AI Conference Manager

Why not impress your team by introducing a smarter way of having meetings? Huddles is a comprehensive AI-powered conference manager that simplifies your meeting management in every way: from setting up the agenda and transcribing discussions to providing real-time insights, summarizing key points, and organizing your notes. And yes — they work with on-site conferences as well, not just online ones. Our free templates are designed to help you run professional and efficient meetings, even if you’re new to this. Give one of our templates a try, or book a free demo with us to learn the basics of how Huddles works!

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