At the root of this challenge is trust, both earning it and giving it. It’s hard for people to trust each other if they don’t know each other. In a workplace setting, it’s hard for people to trust people they haven’t really worked with – and this is especially true if you are a new leader and will lead people you didn’t hire.
There are many Lead from Anywhere episodes about trust, but this is a unique scenario. Here’s how you earn it and give it when you’re leading people you didn’t hire.
First, you have to get to know each other. You need to know your team, and they need to know you. One of the best ways to do this is to share some stories about yourself that show vulnerability – ones where maybe you failed at something, but then you can share how you fixed it. This opens up the line of communication, and makes you very approachable.
To get to know your people, ask them some questions about their lives and their work. If your organization uses assessments, study your people’s assessments – that can help you get to know them more quickly. But honestly, just talking to them usually does the trick. Some will be more willing to open up than others. The ones who open up more quickly can usually become ambassadors for you and get the others to trust you, as well.