First Day Jitters? How to WOW Your New Team in Seconds With an Unforgettable First Impression

Aug 28, 2023

Ever walked into a room and felt like all eyes were on you? That's your first day managing a new team. But what if I told you there's a way to turn those nerve-wracking seconds into a standing ovation moment? And here's the kicker: it's not about the big gestures, but the subtle nuances. In this post, I'll share with you the exact steps to not just make an impression, but to leave an imprint.

Body Language: The Silent Powerhouse of First Impressions

The Unspoken Impact

Before you utter a single word, your body has already started the conversation. I've seen it time and time again: managers who master their body language have a head start in winning trust and respect. Let's dive into the specifics.

Posture: Your Silent Business Card

  • Stand Tall: A slouched posture can suggest disinterest or insecurity. Standing tall radiates confidence and shows you're fully present.
  • Ground Your Feet: Planting your feet shoulder-width apart gives a sense of stability and grounding.
  • Lean In (Slightly): When someone's talking, lean in just a tad. It signals interest and that you're actively listening.

Pro Tip: Regularly check in with your posture, especially in new settings. It's easy to revert to old habits under pressure.

Eyes: The Windows to Authenticity

  • Maintain Eye Contact: It's a delicate balance. Consistent eye contact conveys confidence and interest, but remember to blink and break away occasionally to avoid turning the whole thing into a staring contest.
  • Eyebrow Movement: A slight raise can show surprise or curiosity, while furrowing can indicate deep thought or concern.

Remember: Your eyes can be a powerful tool in showing empathy, curiosity and understanding. Use them to build rapport.

The Handshake: The Classic First Impression Maker

  • Firm but Friendly: A limp handshake? It's forgettable. Too strong? It's domineering. Aim for the middle ground.
  • Two-Pump Rule: A couple of up-and-down motions is professional without lingering too long.
  • Hand Placement: Ensure your hand is vertical, signalling equality and mutual respect.

Facial Expressions: The Unsung Heroes

  • Smile Genuinely: A genuine smile can break barriers. But don't force it; people can spot a fake.
  • Nod Occasionally: A subtle nod here and there shows you're in sync with the conversation.
  • Be Mindful of Frowns: While it's natural when deep in thought, frequent frowning might be misconstrued as disagreement or disapproval.

Gestures: Speaking Without Words

  • Open Palms: Showing your palms can be a sign of openness and honesty.
  • Avoid Crossing Arms: It can be perceived as defensive or closed off, even if it's just comfortable for you.
  • Use Your Hands: Gesturing can emphasise points, but avoid overdoing it. Too much can be distracting.

Final Thoughts on Body Language

Body language is a powerful tool in your leadership toolkit. In essence, it’s mostly about being aware, making some small adjustments where necessary, and most importantly, being genuine in your interactions. As you step into your new role, remember: your body is speaking volumes. So take the time to ensure it's saying the right things.

Crafting the Perfect Introduction

The Power of a Proper Hello

The first words you share with your new team set the tone for your leadership journey. I've coached countless managers, and I've seen how a well-crafted introduction can pave the way for trust, rapport, and collaboration. Let's dive deeper into making your introduction memorable and impactful.

Start Simple: Your Name

  • Pronunciation Clarity: "Hi, I'm [Your Name], it's pronounced [specific pronunciation if tricky]."
  • Nickname Option: "Most people call me [Nickname], but I'm good with either."

Quick Tip: Your name is the cornerstone of your identity. Say it with pride, warmth and approachability.

Share Your Journey: But Keep It Snappy

  • Highlight Key Roles: "I've led teams in [Industry/Company] and achieved [Specific Achievement]."
  • Relevant Experience: "My journey in [Specific Area] has taught me the value of [Specific Value or Lesson]."

Remember: It's not about boasting. It's about connecting past experiences to current roles. So just keep it relevant.

Genuine Enthusiasm: The Spark in Your Introduction

  • Why You're Here: "I joined because I believe in [Company's Mission/Value], and the opportunity to lead this team and work on [Specific Project/Goal] genuinely excites me."
  • Vision for the Future: "Together, I believe we can achieve [Specific Milestone] and set new benchmarks."

Acknowledge Their Value: It's Not Just About You

  • Recognise Past Wins:  "I've been impressed by [Specific Achievement of the Team]. It speaks volumes about your dedication."
  • Express Openness: "While I bring my experiences, I'm here to learn from each of you. Every team member brings unique insights, and I value that."

Seal It with a Question: Engage Right Off the Bat

  • Open-ended Queries: "What's one thing you'd like me to know about this team?"
  • Show Curiosity: "What's been your proudest moment here?"

In a Nutshell

Crafting the perfect introduction is a blend of sharing, acknowledging, and engaging. It's your first step in building a relationship with your team. As you prepare to introduce yourself, remember: authenticity is key. Be genuine, be open, and most importantly, be yourself.

Engaging with Your Team: Building Bridges, Not Walls

The Essence of Engagement

Stepping into a leadership role isn't just about directing; it's about connecting. I've always believed that the best managers are those who truly engage with their teams. Let's dive into how you can foster genuine two-way interactions from day one.

Listen Before You Lead

  • Active Listening: When a team member speaks, give them your full attention. It's the simplest yet most powerful form of respect.
  • Acknowledge Insights: Responses like "I see where you're coming from" or "That's an interesting perspective" can make all the difference.

Pro Tip: Remember, sometimes the most profound insights come from the quietest voices in the room.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

  • Encourage Sharing: "What else can you tell me more about the challenges you've faced in this project?"
  • Seek Feedback: "How do you feel about the current workflow? Are there areas we can improve?"

Remember: The quality of your questions often determines the depth of the conversation.

Open the Floor: It's Their Stage Too

  • Invitation to Speak: "I'd love to hear your thoughts on [Specific Topic]."
  • Value Every Contribution: Whether it's a fresh idea or constructive criticism, show appreciation. "Thanks for bringing that up. It's crucial for us to discuss."

Share Personal Anecdotes: Relatability is Key

  • Brief Stories: "I remember when I was in a similar situation at [Previous Company/Role]. Here's what helped me..."
  • Connect Experiences: "Has anyone here faced something similar?"

Wrap Up with Actionable Steps

  • Summarise Key Points: "From our discussion, it seems like [Specific Issue] is a priority. Let's address it."
  • Set the Next Interaction: "I'd like to delve deeper into some of these points. How about a follow-up meeting next week?"

Final Thoughts

Engaging with your team is obviously an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. It's about building trust, fostering open communication, and creating an environment where everyone feels valued. As you navigate your leadership role, remember: it's the bridges you build, not the walls, that will define your success.

Addressing Those Pesky Nerves: Turning Jitters into Charisma

The Reality of Nerves

First off, let's get one thing straight: feeling nervous,that flutter in the stomach, the sweaty palms, especially when stepping into a new leadership role, is universal. I've been there, and so have many of the managers I've mentored. Nerves are a natural part of anything new. But here's the silver lining: nerves mean you care, which is a great starting point. And then, it’s just about focusing on how to channel them. Let me show you how right now.

Understanding the Why Behind the Nerves

Understanding why you're feeling nervous can be half the battle. So let's break it down:

  • New Environment: It's a fresh setting with unfamiliar faces and new dynamics. Naturally, there's a desire to fit in and make a mark.
  • High Expectations: As a manager, there's a perceived pressure to have all the answers from day one and to lead effectively from the get-go.

Insight: Pinpointing the cause of your nerves can go a long way to helping you address them head-on.

Practical Tips to Keep Nerves in Check

  • Preparation is Key: The more you know about your team and your role, more you're familiar with what you want to say, the more in control you'll feel. Take time to review team profiles, past achievements, and current projects. Even rehearse a little if you need to (just don’t overdo it).
  • Visualisation: Before the introduction, visualise it going well. Picture the room, the faces, and the positive reactions.
  • Grounding Techniques: Sounds cliché, but it works. Simple exercises like feeling your feet on the ground or focusing on your breath can centre you.
  • Positive Self-talk: Remind yourself of past successes. "I've handled challenging situations before. I can do this."

Pro Tip: A quick walk or some light stretching before the introduction can help release pent-up nervous energy.

Channelling Nervous Energy

  • Turn Anxiety into Enthusiasm: That adrenaline rush? Use it to bring passion and energy to your words.
  • Practise Out Loud: Sometimes, hearing yourself can boost confidence. It also helps in refining your delivery.
  • Stay Present: Focus on the moment, not on the "what-ifs." Engage actively with your team and respond to their cues.
  • Seek a Pep Talk: If you have a trusted colleague or mentor, a quick chat can be reassuring.

Pro Tip: Remember, a bit of vulnerability can also be endearing. It's okay to admit, "I'm excited to be here, and yes, a tad nervous. It's a big day for all of us!"

After the Introduction: Reflect and Refine

After the introduction, give yourself a moment. Reflect on:

  • What Went Well: Celebrate the positives. Maybe your story resonated, or perhaps your joke got a few laughs.
  • Seek Feedback: If you have a trusted colleague, ask for their perspective. "How did my introduction come across?"

Remember: Every experience, good or not-so-good, is a learning opportunity.

The Take Away

Nerves, while pesky, are also a testament to your commitment to your role and team. With each introduction, with each interaction, they'll ease. But until then, remember: it's about channelling that energy effectively, not suppressing it. You're not alone in this, and with time, those jitters will transform into confidence.

Wrapping It Up: Leaving a Lasting Impression

The Power of a Strong Finish

Ending your introduction on a high note is just as crucial as starting it. I've seen managers nail their intro but fumble at the end. Let's ensure you leave a mark that resonates.

Reiterate Key Points

It's essential to circle back to the main messages you want your team to remember:

  • Recap Your Role: "As I mentioned, I'm here to support and guide our team towards [specific goal or mission] and I'm really confident in our collective potential.."
  • Openness and Approachability: "Remember, my door (or virtual chat) is always open for feedback, ideas, or just a chat."
  • Thank the Team: "Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm thrilled to be a part of this incredible team."

Remember: Repetition reinforces. It ensures your main messages stick.

A Personal Touch to Seal the Deal

End with something personal, making you more relatable:

  • A Light Personal Note: "On a lighter note, if anyone's into [a personal hobby, e.g., 'hiking'], I'd love some recommendations for local trails!"
  • A Positive Affirmation: "Here's to new beginnings and achieving great things together!"

And that's a wrap! Keep learning, keep growing, and we'll speak again soon.



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