Most managers, when coming in to a new department, or taking on a new team, start with their credentials: “Here’s my experience, the other departments I’ve successfully managed, and why I’ve been asked to manage this department/team.” Or they dive right into their goals.
Managers often forget that the first order of business is to create relationship with those who now answer to them. Not gooey, sappy “Oh, you’re all so great and I know this is going to be wonderful” type of relationship building, but something much simpler, yet much more appropriate and powerful than that.
James Poniewozik commented for Times.com on Jimmy Fallon’s first Tonight Show gig as host:
“I was struck by one small, but in retrospect very important, thing that Fallon did starting out: he introduced himself.
“Not as in “Hi, I’m Jimmy Fallon, and I’m looking forward to this!” He very deliberately walked the audience through who he was, who his supporting stars were and what kind of show he was going to do. He literally, at one point, pretty much explained how a late-night show works, down to the fact that a host comes out from behind a curtain and tells topical jokes… It was simply Fallon respectfully asking his new audience to get to know him.”
Take a page from Fallon’s playbook: before you do anything else in your new position, respectfully ask your new “audience” to get to know you. And then make an effort to get to know them.