How to Ace Your First Meeting with a New Team as Manager

How to Ace Your First Meeting with a New Team as Manager

If you've just taken on the new manager role, the first staff meeting can be an intimidating albeit exciting experience. On the one hand, you don't know most people, and you are unsure how they will react to you as their manager. On the other hand,  you want to make an excellent first impression and set the tone for future meetings.

Don't worry - with some planning and preparation, you can confidently lead your first meeting with employees and set your team up for success. From setting an agenda to fostering open communication, we will cover all the information and tips required to make your first staff meeting as a new manager successful.

Why Is the First Team Meeting Important? 

The first team meeting is often an opportunity for the manager to introduce themselves and their management style, build a relationship with members, and establish expectations and goals for the team.

It's best to hold the first team meeting as soon as possible after the team has been formed, ideally within the first week. 

First meetings are important because they determine your first impression. How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be recognized as a coach, a boss, a strict person, or maybe even a manager who is laid back and doesn't care much about work? The first meeting helps you to achieve the following besides that:

  • Building rapport

Building trust is crucial if you are a new manager or replacing a former manager. The first meeting allows the manager to get to know the team members personally, which can help better grasp the team's strengths and limitations and manage them. 

To build rapport, managers can ask open-ended questions and actively listen to what people have to say.

  • Setting the stage for future communication

During the first team meeting as new manager, you should discuss and establish ground rules for communication and collaboration.  This might entail establishing a team chat channel, planning regular team meetings, or specifying how everyone can reach out to you for feedback. 

Establishing communication and feedback mechanisms lays the foundation for effective conversations, team bonds, and ultimately, the team's success.

  • Communicate your expectations

When joining a new team at work, you need to clarify your expectations for team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. 

A study by Gallup shows that employees are more engaged at work when they have a clear understanding of what’s required of them

How to Prepare for the First Staff Meeting? 

You may experience a lot of anxiety at your first encounter with team members; this is understandable. However, you can still handle it calmly and confidently with proper preparation. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first staff meeting:

Research the team: Knowing who you will lead in the meeting is essential. Take some time to review the team's name, job titles, responsibilities, and backgrounds. The research will help you ask pertinent questions and make it easier to connect on a more personal level.

Prepare questions to ask: Consider preparing open-ended questions that can help you learn who they are personally and professionally. You may ask questions like:  “Are you learning any new skills?”, “Tell me about your role in this organization,” and “What do you like to do in your spare time". Such questions can help facilitate discussion and allow team members to share their thoughts and ideas.

Prepare the meeting space: Make sure the meeting room is conducive to productive discussion and bonding. Check for adequate seating, lighting, and other items like whiteboards or flip charts.

You can even go for an offsite meeting that happens outdoors and creates a more easing atmosphere.

Send a meeting invitation: Let the staff know the meeting's date, time, and location. Send an email or memo a day before or the morning of the meeting to remind and encourage attendance.

Set clear objectives: Setting clear objectives for a team meeting is an important step in preparation, as it helps ensure that the meeting is productive. 

Determine what you want to accomplish in the meeting. Clear objectives encourage team members to work together and foster a feeling of purpose, both of which help accomplish future team objectives.

By following these steps, you can effectively prepare for your first staff meeting. Remember to be confident and stay focused, and you'll be well on your way to a successful meeting with your team.

7 Tips to Ace Your First Meeting with a New Team

There’s no magic bullet to get your team excited about working for you as a new manager, but there are a few things you can do to get the ball rolling. These seven tips will help convince your team that they are in the best hands with you. 

1. Set a clear meeting agenda

A meeting agenda is influential because it gives everyone involved a blueprint for what to expect. By determining the purpose and goals of the meeting, you can outline all critical topics that should be covered and ensure the meeting stays on track. 

Your first team meeting agenda should include items such as “meeting icebreakers,” “self-introduction”, “current opportunities,” “challenges encountered,” and possibly a Q&A session. 

You should share the agenda at least one day before the meeting. This will allow team members to input their ideas and come prepared, thus enabling productive conversations that can quickly build team morale.

2. Break the ice

It's always good to start a meeting with an icebreaker, especially if you are meeting for the first time.

Taking some time at the beginning of the meeting to get to know your team using icebreakers can help build rapport and create a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. And there are two ways:

  • Icebreaker questions: These are interactive questions that help build a connection quickly and usually take 5-10 minutes, depending on the team size. Some great examples include “What is your dream job” and “What superpower do you like.”

  • Icebreaker games: These are fun games and activities that involve all members, but better keep them within 15 minutes. Some common team-building activities include Two truths and one lie, One word at a time, and The scavenger hunt.

Icebreakers get people laughing and smiling and allow them to relax. You can use icebreakers in both virtual and physical meetings. 

3. Show them who you are

Don't be afraid to be yourself, as fakeness doesn’t last long. 

Make your first introduction friendly by sharing your personal story, interests and hobbies, and visions of the team. This can help your team get to know you and understand your leadership style.

Also, don’t forget to show the professional side because employees need a leader who can help the team grow up. You may share your background, working experience, and further, what drives, inspires, and fulfills you

Your team members are more inclined to trust you if they know more about who you are. By revealing more than just your successes, you are already beginning to sow the seeds of trust.

4. Encourage participation

Find strategies to involve your team and maintain their interest throughout the meeting. Inform everyone that you want them to participate anywhere they can add anything worthwhile. Good or poor, subjective, curious, or controversial—all of these are significantly more valuable than being silent.

You can also use some tactics like asking open-ended questions,  ensuring equal participation, and responding to each member’s contributions.

Encouraging participation can help create a collaborative atmosphere and ensure that you give everyone a chance to express themselves. When everyone participates, ideas are more likely to be shared, opinions are more likely to be formed, and the meeting will be more productive.

5. Take notes

As a new manager, taking notes during your first team meeting can be a valuable asset. It allows you to capture essential information from team members. Consider how you may use their comments in conversations, activities, etc. in the future. For instance, what if red is someone’s favorite color? Consider buying a red-colored cake to celebrate the person’s birthday.

Referring to these points after the meeting helps ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and you miss nothing important. The meeting notes are not just a recap of what has been discussed during the meeting but also a record of decisions made, actions to be taken, and follow-up points.

6. Leave time for Q&A

Remember, this is also the first time that the team gets to know you and they probably have questions that require answers.

The trick here is if you don’t give them a chance, they may never ask these questions, and you lose an opportunity to connect with them. So at the end of the meeting, you can initiate a Q&A session and encourage employees to ask questions that concern them -  roles and responsibilities, their worries, and anything else. 

You may not have answers to all, but that’s okay, keep the answered questions noted and follow up afterward.

7. Follow up

After your initial staff meeting, have a few follow-up plans ready, and let your staff members know what they are, such as when you will contact them for one-on-one meetings. Additionally, If any action items were assigned during the meeting, you should check the progress and ensure that team members complete tasks on time.

It is also a great idea to find out what the staff thinks about the meeting and therefore get feedback for improvement. The best way to fulfill this purpose is by using an anonymous online form that could include questions like

  • On a scale of 1-10, how effective do you think this meeting is?

  • What else do you want to know about your new manager?

  • How often do you think we should have team meetings?

First Team Meeting Agenda Template

Don't stress if you're unsure how to approach your initial meeting with the new team! Meeting agendas can be a great asset to make your scheduled gatherings more structured. 

Using team meeting agenda templates can help save time when you do not want to start from scratch and free up your energy to focus on the other details of the meeting. The template can also help if you are unsure what to include in the agenda. You can directly apply the template or customize it to suit your style. 

You can find the first meeting with new team agenda template below:

  1. Introductions (Getting to know each other)

  2. Icebreaker

  3. What's the best way to communicate as a team?

  4. Set expectations

  5. Open discussion and feedback

Bonus: First Meeting with New Team Email Sample

It is a great idea to send a welcome email to team members to prepare them beforehand for the meeting. And we have crafted an email sample for your needs.

Subject: It's time to meet the new team!

Hello team,

I am excited to be joining the team as your new manager. I wanted to reach out and introduce myself, as well as schedule our first team meeting.

I have a background in [industry/position] and look forward to meeting you.

Our first team meeting will be on [date and time] in [location]. We will get to know each other during this meeting and discuss our team goals and objectives.

I encourage you to come prepared with any questions or concerns you may have. I am here to support and guide you and value open and honest communication.

I am excited to start this new journey with you all and contribute to our team's success.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Manage your first team meeting successfully

Joining a new team is never easy, especially if you're the manager. It is vital to approach your first meeting with a new team with thoughtfulness and planning. 

Remember to be open to feedback and questions, and make an effort to get to know your team members individually. By following these tips, you can ensure that your first team meeting as a new manager sets the stage for a positive working environment for your team and together make more achievements.