We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Column Team leaders are under pressure to deliver results fast – here’s how to

Today’s global economy doesn’t leave new managers with a lot of time to find their feet; here Niamh O’Keefe shares her three steps to successfully leading your team.

IN THE CURRENT global economy, a newly appointed leader is under pressure to deliver results fast in the first 100 days. Judgements are made much more quickly now – a leader’s achievements in the first 100 days are routinely taken as an indication of leadership potential in the future. So an approach based on performance acceleration and immediate return on investment is more essential than ever.

Cork native Niamh O’Keeffe had been headhunting in the City of London for a number of years when she identified that newly hired executives were struggling to cope in the early days of their new roles. In 2004 O’Keeffe founded First100 as a response to this need – the company provides coaching for new-to-role executives on how to transition successfully into their new role, and how to make an early impact.

Here, Niamh gives her top tips on how to lead your team in the first 100 days.

1. Preparation

So, to ensure you get off to a running start with your new team, there are a number of issues you can focus on before you even start your new role. Such as:

  • Getting the team ready for your arrival: if you and your team are prepared before your arrival, then you can get off to a fast and focused start
  • Arranging a swift leadership handover: there cannot be two leaders of a team – so the handover should happen quickly and efficiently
  • Understanding the strategic context: you cannot lead the team in a vacuum. Understanding the broader strategic context and timeline will allow you to lead your team while keeping connected to the bigger picture
  • Figuring out what the team mission is: after establishing the strategic context you need to have a clear line of sight between what you are being asked to do and what the company is aiming to achieve, and by when.

Effective team leadership is one of the foundations for a successful first 100 days. By considering the above before you even start your new role, you will be set to hit the ground running from day one.

2. Beginning

At First100 we have developed a unique formula for leader-team success. Once you start in role, there are seven key ways in which you should be leading your team to ensure a successful first 100 days. You need to be a:

  • Role model: by setting high standards for yourself, your team will follow your lead, and will strive to reach the high standards you set
  • Mission setter: you need to identify the common cause – the unifying mission of the team – and push to achieve it
  • Recruiter: you need the best possible team in place for a successful first 100 days and beyond, so you need to be capable of assembling a strong team, fast
  • Communicator: regardless of how strong your team is, if you cannot communicate effectively with them, little progress will be made
  • Motivator: to get the very best out of your team you will need to be a strong motivator
  • Skills builder: you will need to figure out who is good at what, assign tasks accordingly, and up-skill the team where necessary
  • Target maker: you will need clarity on key stakeholders and key deliverables so that you can set clear targets and results for the end of the first 100 days

3. First 100 days team plan

Having considered the seven-part formula for leader-team success you are now ready to write an optimal First 100 Days Team Plan. A strong, achievable and focused plan is vital. In what can be a chaotic and emotional time – with many distractions – putting your detailed first 100 days team plan into action will give you structure and focus. Once you have clearly outlined your key strategic priorities it will be easier to remain focused on them.

The importance of building a strong team in the first 100 days of a new leadership position cannot be overstated. Effective team leadership is crucial for success as a leader. You can expect to face many challenges in your first 100 days and beyond, and putting a strong team in place should be your top priority, to ensure performance acceleration from the get-go.

Niamh O’Keeffe is the founder of First100, a business performance acceleration company with offices in Dublin, London and New York.

Since setting up First100 O’Keeffe has gone on to write two books, the most recent of which Lead Your Team In Your First 100 Days was released late last year. It is a practical guide for leaders looking to make a big impact in a short time frame. Check out the blog or follow on LinkedIn.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.