You have just been hired or promoted to a new role with increased leadership responsibilities. Or, you’re an HR leader tasked with onboarding a new leader quickly and successfully. What is your first step? Do you have a plan for success?
Onboarding is commonly referred to as the process of integrating leaders into the culture, organization, team, function, and position in order to build effectiveness, create impact, and accelerate success as quickly as possible. And with studies revealing about half of all new leaders quit or fail within the first 18 months, onboarding is critical to creating a path to success for leaders, their new team, and the company.
Successfully onboarding a new leader begins with understanding the three phases and what should be accomplished in each one:
Each phase can last anywhere from 15 to 60 days with overlapping tasks and responsibilities. To better understand how to successfully onboard a new leader, follow these best practices.
NEW LEADER ONBOARDING BEST PRACTICES
#1 – Create a 90 Day Plan
Establish your objectives. What do you want to accomplish during the first 90 days in terms of your role, team, stakeholders, operations, etc.? Focus on learning about your role, team, stakeholders, company culture, etc. and establish relationships with key stakeholders
#2 – Assessments
Identify the leaders’ strengths, areas for improvement, values, and leadership style by using a variety of assessments. Once you have the results, create a plan for leveraging strengths and improving weaknesses.
#3 – Team Assimilation
One of the most critical elements for new leaders is to build trust with their team members and gain their support. The team assimilation process is an excellent way for the leader to set expectations, address key issues and respond to questions.
#4 – Boss Assimilation
It is also important for new leaders to accelerate the development of a strong working relationship with their boss. Open communication and setting expectations are essential aspects of this relationship and working with a leadership coach is an excellent way to facilitate the discussion.
#5 – Stakeholder Analysis
By identifying key stakeholders, new leaders can focus their time and attention on those who matter the most. With limited time, new leaders should develop relationships and align stakeholders to their plans.
#6 – SWOT Analysis
One of the core areas during the onboarding process is to identify the direction the new leader should take moving forward. Use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to help determine their strategy and direction.
#7 – Develop a Vision
During the first 90 days, leaders are compelled to examine the direction of their organization, department, team, and function by developing a vision, mission and values statement. This drives alignment among the team and provides the organization the needed direction, priorities, and guiding principles for actions going forward.
By following these best practices, a new leader can create success, build effectiveness and create impact in the organization. Otherwise, the alternative of a leadership failure costs the organization, time, money, lost productivity, and lower employee morale.