Hiring great people is important. It is equally important to see that the new leader thrives by successfully integrating them into your organization, and it is key to keeping new talent. Having made this initial investment, it is critical that you work to guarantee the long-term success of your asset by helping your new leader understand how they can best contribute to the team and assuring them that their peers and team members are committed to theirs.

 Benefits of Intentionally Integrating New Leaders:

  • Builds rapid momentum and team alignment;
  • Helps leaders feel more comfortable asking for help;
  • Quickly identifies any potential personality or work style challenges within the team.

Steps to Successful Leadership Integration

  1. Acknowledge and Respect the Change

 It is key to close the previous chapter by respectfully celebrating what was accomplished by the team and validating their past experiences. This brings closure and can assure readiness to commit to a renewed team agenda.

  1. Provide an Opportunity for Open Dialogue and Genuine Listening With the Team and Previous Leader (if Possible) to Engage On:
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What challenges does the team still face?
  • What are the things the team feels strongly about and wouldn’t want to change?
  • What are the team’s strategic priorities?

While many teams prefer focusing on the problems and their near-term objectives, this is a time when it is important to focus on the “way” the team is working and the commitments and support they can offer each other.

  1. Preparing Your New Leader for Their New Team

 The first impressions the new leader makes will be lasting. Provide them with critical initial information regarding what they can expect during their first week and an overview of the next 30, 60, 90 days. Encourage new leaders to prepare a short introduction of themselves summing up why they are joining the company, what they are excited about, and what they hope to contribute.

  1. Set Up for Success:
  • Share the critical cultural dos and don’ts;
  • Provide a schedule for critical cultural learning;
  • Select a peer team member as their integration “buddy”;
  • Prepare a list of key stakeholders and set-up critical 1:1s in advance;
  • Make sure your expectations for the leader and the team are clear;
  • Discuss all of the above often and regularly in the first four to five weeks.
  1. The Critical First Three Months

New leaders are anxious to jump into the work, make a good impression, and bring what they know (and think they know) to the new team.  But the team wants and needs to be respected. Intentionally providing an integration process that introduces the new leader to the culture of the organization, the specifics of their team, and expectations of their leadership and peers will help build effective teamwork from the beginning.

  1. Schedule a Facilitated New Leader Launch Workshop with the Team

This critical first workshop with the team can assure that a good deal of information is shared in an environment that is safe, supportive, and designed for the success of all.  Key elements of this meeting include:

  • The new leader has an opportunity to listen to the team share about their team agreements, what they are proud of in their work, and what they are hoping for in terms of their performance;
  • The new leader shares specific insight about their management approach, work style, and communication preferences;
  • The new leader is quickly brought up to speed on the “lessons learned” of the team and the key issues and challenges facing the team moving forward;
  • A norm of open and authentic dialogue is set and built into the process to open up the lines of communication and build confidence that issues will be tackled and everyone’s voice will be heard.

A high-quality intentional integration process not only gives new leaders the foundation they need, it also sends a clear message that the organization cares about their success and that you (as the hiring manager) are willing to invest in creating mutual success.

  1. Finally, seek to over communicate

Provide a two-way feedback process to assess progress, identify gaps, and celebrate successes. Integration happens over time with focus and attention to provide the alignment and support needed to successfully manage your investment.