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How to Stay Connected to the Work of Your Team

Fully understand your reports' work to build unity with them

Leaders and team members feel much more connected when they have an understanding of and agreement about the nature of the work itself. When leaders are experts in the work, they can teach, coach and provide support without needing detailed explanations. A lot of people are actually uncomfortable when their boss doesn't have any personal experience of their work. They may lack confidence in their boss or even discount their authority and behave rebelliously toward them.

But many leaders come from outside the company–or at least, from outside the group. You may even be one of them. Can these leaders ever feel fully accepted by and comfortable with the team? How can they show that they’re connected to their people? Here are a handful of suggestions for how to approach your team members if you start out without experience of their work.

Know When to Say, “I Don’t Know”

Some leaders believe that they're supposed to know everything, and that not knowing something either signifies weakness or means it's not worth knowing. These leaders may therefore either ignore or fake having knowledge of any topic they're not familiar with. Over time, their team members may feel ignored themselves, or as if they don’t count. These feelings can create distance and lead to team members trusting and consulting these bosses less and being less candid with them.

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