The biggest mistake newly hired managers make is not meeting with every one of their team members as soon as possible. You may have to do it in groups if you've got several hundred people under you, but don't put it off. If you do, you're effectively telling the people who work for you that they're not a priority to you.
When you get hired at a leadership level, you have to make the effort to engage. Plan specifically, not generally. Direct reports should be met with on a one-on-one basis, and depending on the total, team meetings are also good. How you start off with your new team will dictate how willingly they follow.
I had a client who hired a brand-new director to manage an eight-person team. Three weeks into the job, the new director still hadn't met everybody on their team. He had eight people. However, when we checked in with him, he was "upset" that his boss had only met with him once, and for half an hour. Self-perspective...
We live in a global world where companies have people all over the world reporting to one another. But if you're in a domestic situation in your first month of employment, there isn't an excuse to not meet with your reports. If you can't get on a plane, use technology. It's easy in today's day and age. And if you're international, you should set a timeline, either six months or a year, to meet with everybody; all of your direct reports all over the globe. It sends a positive message to people.
Establish time parameters for these meetings. Tell people, "Hey listen. I've got a cramped schedule. My boss has me running around like crazy. However, I wanted to make sure that I got 15 minutes with you to introduce myself and to hear any tidbits of wisdom you can lay on me or areas of frustration you're experiencing. Then, depending on where it goes, we can have a follow-up with some other people to make sure that we're moving forward."
Use your empathy skills, and ask yourself, "What would happen if I had a new boss, and a month, six months or a year went by, and he or she never took the time to meet me. How would I feel?" Remember, people are the most important asset you have. If you've got hundreds or thousands of people under you, you might choose to meet them all in a big town hall-type forum, but again, what you do and how you do it sends a message. Doing nothing sends an even louder message.
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