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  • Adele

How do I lead a new team without leadership experience?

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

This is a great question, and one that I am sure many a new manager or leader has asked themselves.

This post was originally from a question I answered on Quora: "How do I lead an inexperienced team when I don't have leadership experience myself?". You can see the original post here:

I added 10 pointers to some of the great answers already provided by other contributors.

1. Establish your worth

Quite often you’ve been asked to lead a team because someone has seen something in you that sets you apart from the rest of the team. Ask yourself what is that quality / qualities? Maybe you’ve been the quickest in producing work, or the most accurate, maybe you’ve been in the business the longest, maybe you’ve created an outstanding piece of work that won an award or achieved the highest sales?

Whatever the reason is, someone has seen fit to put you in the leadership role. Figure out why. Remember this. Leading is not all down to leadership experience. We are all learning every day of our lives, learning to lead comes down to hard work, educating yourself and lifelong experience.

2. Honesty is the best policy

First you need to be open & honest with the team. Explain that you are new to this role, you are going to learn along the way, probably make mistakes and it might not all be smooth running.

Ensure they know that you are going to try your best, and if they have any feedback for how you’re doing you would love to hear it.

3. Servant leadership

Explain to your team why you got the role (as established in 1) and what it is that you can do for them, become a SERVANT LEADER, someone who is there to serve their team, ask not what they can do for you but what you can do for them.

4. What are your values?

Set out your values, what do you hold most dear and how should you and all your team members act. Values such as Trust, Honesty, Kindness, Fairness & Respect are extremely important when leading a team. Let your team know which values you live by and explain how you wish them to do the same.

5. Vision

Set out your vision for your team, include team & Company objectives, let them know what they are working towards and why and how it all fits together with the wider Company. Teams work better when they understand the ‘why’.

6. Earn their respect

Have Belief, Courage and Fortitude to know that you are doing the best you can, that you are being Kind, Honest & Fair every day. Your team will see this and respect you more for it.

7. Keep your promises

Always at with integrity. Hold your head high and don’t give anyone a reason so say you are untrustworthy. If you say you are going to do it, then deliver on it. Your team will soon become disengaged if you are full of empty promises

8. You are nothing without Wisdom

Find your wisdom. You may lack in knowledge & experience right now, but once you gain more knowledge you need to act with sound judgement. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you don’t know the answer, but you will make every effort to find out the answer and come back to them.

9. Mentorship

Find yourself a great mentor if possible, someone who really is demonstrating great leadership values

10. Read & Listen!!

Get reading & listening to Leadership podcasts!! There’s plenty of great resources out there.

I cover more about the Principles of Greatness on my HR Consultancy website here:

And in my Short Book here:

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