Effective Managers: The First 100 days as a New Team Leader

Dwight Mihalicz,

The First 100 days as a New Team LeaderWhether you’re becoming a manager for the first time, or moving into a new managerial role, it’s important to start out on the right foot. So what should you do in the first few days, weeks, and months to get up and running as a new team leader? Using the 5 Requirements of Effective Managers , being authentic, and setting a timeline for achieving goals will help you prepare yourself and establish the relationships that you will need for success.

Using The 5 Requirements of Effective Managers in Your First 100 Days

Planning, doing value-added work, setting context and boundaries, delegating, and establishing feedback loops are all crucial to success in any new managerial position. The 5 Requirements of Effective Managers break down nicely into two parallel but equally important categories of what you will need to accomplish in the first 100 days.

1) Understanding Your New Role

You will spend your first week familiarizing yourself with your new role, and—if you are new to the organization—your new organization. Likely, you learned a lot about your new position during the hiring process, but your research shouldn’t stop there. Early on—and as much as possible in advance of your first day—you should learn what will be expected of you. It’s essential for you to connect with your immediate manager to be sure that you are getting clear context from them. How do they expect you to behave? What do they see as your deliverables?

Understanding your position description, the organization, and its policies and procedures is key. Creating that linkage with your new manager to make sure you know how your role interacts with their role will enable you to understand the value-added work that you need to do, which will help you plan and set context for your own direct reports.

2) Interacting With Others

As important as it is for you to familiarize yourself with your new role, this learning process needs to be balanced with you establishing yourself as the new leader of your team. As anxious as you are to learn about your job, your team is anxious to learn about you as a manager. Never assume that your predecessor had good systems in place for interacting with others. One of the first things you should do is establish the following channels of communication, which I refer to as Feedback Loops in the 5 Requirements of Effective Managers:

    1. Meet individually with each of your direct reports as soon as possible, and do the same work with them that you did with your own manager in terms of setting context and sharing your vision and expectations.
    2. Meet with the team as a whole early on. This is very important because it establishes you as the leader of that team and gives you the opportunity to share your vision and your expectations of the team as a whole.
    3. A little bit lower of a priority but still important—establish your third feedback loop with your peers. What will your key peer relationships be? Find out from their perspectives what they need from you to be successful, and the services or support they believe they can provide to help you.
    4. Finally, establish your fourth feedback loop with the community. With whom in the community do you need to establish relationships? Examples might include your client base or stakeholder groups.

Once your feedback loops are in place, it will be much easier for you to delegate work to your team members.


During this time, authenticity in the workplace is also essential. After the excitement of getting your new job passes, and the pressure sets in, you run the risk of putting on the mask of “knowing it all”. You’re not going to know it all, so don’t pretend. It’s much better to be grounded in truth and transparency. People can tell when you’re being authentic or not, so be yourself. You know how to manage, or you wouldn’t have been made team leader. Rather than focusing on content (which you are unlikely to be familiar with yet), focus on how you will work together with your team and on creating the trusting relationships that you will need to be successful.

Setting A Clear Timeline For Achieving Goals

Within the first couple of weeks of your new role, you should outline for your team what you hope to accomplish within the first 100 days. There is a secret to this. Although you might set your goals for your team for 100 days, you really need to do that from a longer context.

So, what does this mean? If you’re a director, you need to be thinking about what you want to accomplish in the next 1-2 years. If you’re a VP, you need to be thinking about the next 3-5 years. Of course, you won’t have your entire 5 year plan in place within the first few weeks, but you should have some idea from your predecessor and enough insights from your manager to be able to set goals for the first 100 days. If there is a burning issue you have inherited, meet with your team about that issue and the processes you intend to put in place to resolve it, but don’t promise you’re going to solve it in 100 days. By the end of the first 100 days, you will have made significant progress on your short term goals and should have your long-term plan in place.

No matter how experienced you are, entering into a new managerial role can be intimidating. Using the 5 Requirements of Effective Managers, being authentic, and setting a timeline for achieving goals in the first 100 days will help ensure your success as a new team leader.

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Dwight Mihalicz

Dwight Mihalicz has over 40 years’ experience helping local, national, and international organizations achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and performance.
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