How to make the right first impression

Picture a scene for a moment. It’s an early Monday morning. One by one people are popping up at the office. Some are energized and waken and some are still yawning like they haven’t had sleep in years. As the coffee machine commences it’s duties, spreading tasty smells all around the room, a couple of employees chat. 

- Have you heard of the new PM? - one of them asks.

- Yep, I had a quick chat with him at the front door. He seems like a nice guy, another one replies.

Guess what, this new PM is you! Now the stage is set for you to enter the scene.

Taking the lead in a new team is not unlike becoming a captain of a new ship crew. The only difference is that there are no sails and the sailors drink health-threatening amounts of coffee instead of health-threatening amounts of rum. You have to start all over again, regardless of where you have worked before, prove yourself and make a connection with your new colleagues. Remember, the captain goes down with a ship, as they say.

To begin making a strong and lasting impression, a proper introduction is a must. Say your name loud and clear so everyone could hear and remember it. The next stop is your expertise and professional experience, so mention your past jobs and achievements. Keep in mind, your new crew has to trust you. Thus, false or incorrect information about your former glories is equally as hurtful as plain bragging about it.

Have a good sense of humor? Great. Use it to throw a couple of jokes in. Make sure they’re funny though, otherwise there’s no use turning your professional introduction into a standup comedy routine. If you’re uncertain about your abilities as an amateur comic, consider telling a little bit about your hobbies and things you like to break the ice with your colleagues. Just don’t bring it all at once - there’s a time and a place for everything, you know. 

Once your introduction is over, get serious for a while. Explain what the goals are and how are you going to achieve them. Be open to answering any questions and don’t hesitate to write down the ones you can’t answer immediately. Don’t shy away from asking for help if necessary. You’re in it together after all.

Fill your teammates in on your way of running things. Your expectations of each member and the entire team should be open and shut. It is important for them to feel safe and confident with you from the get-go. In turn, you need to be yourself instead of trying to fill the previous manager’s shoes. 

Get to know your teammates. Hold one on one meetings as soon as possible to learn what’s going on. At this stage, you won’t over-communicate, no matter how you try. And even if you will – it doesn't matter. Finding the best way to approach complicated things like running a team ain’t easy and takes a lot of information.

One more thing. As strange as it seems, the main key to success is rather simple - stay human. Give people their dues, respect them and don’t push them around. Take opportunities to thank people for their work and don’t take it out on them. Because nobody likes jerks. In other words, you get what you give. Give it good.