The 3 Most Important Traits Teams Want in a New Manager

Sean inspires people to have fun laughing together so they can have more success working together.   His three books, The Unexpected Leader, Rapid Teamwork, and The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates are powerful parables for building and leading great teams!

As a new Manager, you may be excited about the impact you can have on improving the team culture you are responsible for…

Whether you are experienced and taking over a new team, or new to the position of manager, preparing to lead a group of coworkers for the very first time demands more than just focusing on KPIs and defined job responsibilities.

You need to be aware of the impact that TEAM CULTURE will have on the strategy you plan to implement…

You need to get your team on board and rowing in the same direction!

And to do that, great managers and leaders understand there are a number of important things that team members want.

Yes, more resources and office supplies…

Yes, more appreciation and support for their efforts…

Yes, more planning and collaboration time…

Yes, a copy machine and pencil sharpener that works…

And YES, of course, the freedom to enjoy casual Fridays!

But those are not the 3 MOST IMPORTANT things…

The THREE MOST IMPORTANT things team members want

from a NEW MANAGER are

the traits of Clarity, Relatability, and Dependability….

So why is each of these TRAITS so essential to your success?


This is the FIRST thing they want.

People want their leaders to be crystal clear on WHERE they are going, WHY they are going, and HOW they will get there.

Part of the reason you are taking over is likely because you could communicate that in an interview… but are you being intentional about TELLING THAT STORY to the people you will depend on to get there?

I would encourage you to make THIS the central piece of your welcome message – both the in-person talk that you will have when you introduce yourself, and via email as you reiterate the importance and impact of the work you and your staff are undertaking.

And great leaders will Clarify not only the compelling common goal that all team members share – but also take time to define how their daily efforts contribute to accomplishing those school goals.

Engagement is simply how much people care about the results their efforts are contributing to!

Creating clarity begins with being lase focused on the priorities that you want your people to focus on doing – and then communicating this to your people.

Are you a manager who judges employees based upon the quality of their office wall decorations, or on the quality of their results or efficiency or growth?

Your team members will talk – and what you identify as important is what THEY will adopt as the thing they emphasize in their behaviors each day…

video presentation

Preparing to lead a group of coworkers for the very first time demands more than just focusing on KPIs and defined job responsibilities.



This is the second thing teams want from their manager.

Once you have defined a clear mission and how each person will contribute, you need to demonstrate that you are relatable.

Being relatable isn’t only about being approachable… although that is helpful ; )

Being relatable means that your people see you as passionate and vulnerable and imperfect and determined and supportive. Feel free to share an anecdote that makes you sound human, not perfect.  Be willing to talk about your failures and the lessons they provided.

And take time to invest in building relationships with and between your people – relationships are the foundation of the collaboration you want to inspire among your faculty!

One simple way you can keep up with your people is to have them complete a “What’s UP” Card every couple of weeks to keep you informed about their life outside the office!

A WHAT’s UP card is an effective and fun way to learn about your team – whether in person or with remote workers.  You can even download a free copy of a printable What’s Up Check in Card HERE!

And implementing it as a weekly activity is easy…

If you are working together in person, just have them fill out and turn in the cards every Monday or Friday and then reach out to follow up when the need arises –

It could even be fun to share the good stuff to help your team celebrate personal achievements!

If you are wanting to implement the idea virtually, you can send out an email that your team can reply to on Monday morning…  You could even send a link to them after creating a simple one-question google form.

Improved connection is one of the reasons that new principals will often schedule a corporate team building event as a catalyst for their upcoming project or to kick off your next quarter – it provides a chance to create TRUST and connect the different personalities and departments in a meaningful way.


This is the third most important thing employees will look for in a new manager.

Consistency is the key to building and maintaining the trust of the people you work with.

Starting well is terrific… but sustaining that same standard of clarity and passion and relatability and supportive encouragement is rare in leaders.

It is easy to get distracted by paperwork… and project deadlines… and planning for events… but the single most important thing you can develop on your office is a strong team culture where your staff trusts their coworkers and leaders.

Are you the same person when things are going well as you are when things are difficult?

Are you just as encouraging and positive and supportive as when you started out?

Being someone that your team can DEPEND ON to see their effort, appreciate their long hours, and celebrate the impact their investment of time and energy has on students is vital.

Want better office morale and PERFORMANCE?

Provide Clarity.

Be Relatable.

Be Dependable.

Once you establish and clarify goals, shift your focus to building and maintaining the relationships that will support the weight of truth and expectations…

And then be sure to frequently deliver specific and sincere praise for the efforts that your team members give each day.

And if you want a more thorough masterclass on how to build and maintain a high-performing team culture, you might want to look into the Raid Teamwork Coaching Program – a hybrid online learning experience that provides you with EVERYTHING you need to create a more positive and productive team culture!

If I can ever be a resource for you as you seek to improve your school culture, I hope you will reach out to chat!

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