Lead People You Didn’t Hire by Earning Trust

It’s tough to be the new kid on the block, especially for new leaders. Earning trust when you lead people you didn’t hire is paramount to the entire organization’s success. In episode 118 of the Lead from Anywhere podcast, I share a few tactics leaders who are new to a team can implement to earn trust more quickly (and also give it).

How to Lead People You Didn’t Hire – Listen Now!

Understanding the Challenge of Leading People You Didn’t Hire

The leadership role and title should be earned, not given. So it can be a challenge to become the leader to a group of people when you haven’t yet earned the title. Just like it’s hard for you to lead people you didn’t hire, it’s hard for the team to follow a leader they didn’t choose. As a side note, this is often a reason people quit their jobs – when a new leader comes in. So if you want to keep your teams in tact, productive, and happy, this is a critical topic for you to understand as a leader.

Earning Trust when Leading People You Didn’t Hire

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.

Communicating Intentions and Expectations when Leading People You Didn’t Hire

Another thing you need to do when leading people you didn’t hire is to let your team know your true intentions. One of the biggest fears people have about a new leader coming onto the team is that they might lose their job. While that does happen sometimes, it isn’t always the case. If you can put that fear at ease, do it right away, and then discuss your intentions for the team. Take it easy, and don’t change anything right away. But it’s a good idea to give them some insights into your vision for the team.

Kind of in line with intentions, you’ll also want to communicate your expectations very clearly. It’s likely the work may not change right away, but it’s good to review what is expected with each person on the team. This will avoid any confusion in the future, and will help you team lower their guard if they know what you, their new leader, expects of them.