Topic: Leadership


A 90-Day Plan for New Leaders

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Updated on 

February 12, 2024






A new leadership opportunity can be exciting, albeit overwhelming. Within the first 90 days you have to prove yourself as an asset to the organization. It’s the time you’ll be analyzed by the executive team and assessed by your coworkers. Not only will the actions you take determine your success at your new job, but they will influence how others perceive you within your role.

Creating a 90-day plan for success isn’t a new concept. Ask any salesperson, athlete, or entrepreneur and they’ll tell you it’s an essential component to achieving your short term goals, and staying on the right path to achieving your long term goals. Here are some ideas for implementing a plan for your first 90 days as a new leader:

Create the habit of recognizing your employees often

Habits don’t take form overnight, and they don’t just happen. Despite the old belief that it takes 21 days to create a habit, a recent study by the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it actually takes an average of 66 days to develop a habit.

This means your first 90 days are the opportune time to create a habit of recognition and become the leader that is known for showing appreciation. Say “Thank you!” from day one. If your company does not have an employee recognition program in place, take time to give genuine thanks to your boss, coworkers, and employees. It will make a difference in your relationships and have them relating to you as a gracious leader.

Get to know your employees on a more personal level

It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. Establishing authentic relationships means establishing trust. When the people around you trust you they are more likely to confide in you and become enrolled in your vision and goals.  They are more engaged when they know their leader cares about them as a person.

Work hard on yourself

To borrow from author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Yes—work harder on yourself than your job. You cannot become a great leader without continually developing yourself on a personal level.  When you go to work on yourself you uncover the keys to being a whole and complete person that others want to be around.

You will be a better problem solver. You will begin to uncover areas in your life that are stopping or thwarting you from being powerful, and then find new possibilities for action. You will be a better listener. You will listen to others from a perspective of growth and development rather than simply trying to get ahead. People will want to be around you and they will enroll in your goals. That is true leadership.

Measure your professional success to continually progress

You cannot improve what you don’t measure. In the first 90 days as a leader, basic measuring will be a key place to start. Know your baseline so that you have a point from which you can measure your progress. Next, determine the tools or metrics available to you to track your progress. Consider linking some of the soft skills associated with leadership directly to tangible business objectives. For example, Inspire and Empower People could link to increased productivity scores or retention rates, or Lead Change could correlate to new projects implemented. And foremost, be willing to accept feedback from your team. If you’ve established an authentic relationship of trust, your people will provide the best measurable feedback.

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