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4 Keys to Successfully Onboarding A New Leader

4 Keys to Successfully Onboarding A New Leader

One of the major downfalls for any leader in business today is the failure to successfully onboard into a new role—whether in an existing organization as a result of a promotion—or to a role with a new company. What a new executive does and doesn’t do in those first days, weeks and months will be remembered for years to come.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that onboarding success or failure is not the responsibility of the executive alone. The organization needs to do its part to ensure the new leader is successful as well!

But assuming the organization gets its part right—the executive fully understands his or her role; how he or she will be measured; and has the support, resources and tools to successfully do the job—there are four critical things the new executive must do to successfully establish himself or herself in the new role:

  1. Manage first impressions with staff and colleagues. It’s important to show interest in and respect for those colleagues and stakeholders with whom the executive will be working. Establish these relationships as early into the new role as possible.
  2. Honor past history. Regardless of the charge the executive has been given, it is important that he or she take the time to understand the legacy of the organization, division or department. Who has contributed to its success?
  3. Build key stakeholder relationships. He or she must learn who the key “go to” people are and make the time to get to know them. These could be existing staff and other stakeholders in the organization.
  4. Do periodic pulse checks. The new executive should take time to “check in” with the boss, staff and colleagues to ensure the impression he or she is intending is the one others are receiving. And respect their feedback!

Care and intentional planning, thought and execution in any new onboarding situation will go a long way to ensuring those first days, weeks and months in the new role are as successful as possible. 

Executive leadership development and leadership consulting services may contribute to successful onboarding for new leaders and executives.


Need help with onboarding a new leader or executive? Contact Miles LeHane today. Our executive coaching programs can help.



Patty Prosser is chairwoman of OI Global Partners and managing partner of Oi-Career Consultants in Indianapolis. She can be reached at pprosser@oiglobalpartners.com.

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