New leader? 5 Questions you MUST ask your team

By Susan Ritchie

Last week I wrote about the 5 questions  you must  ask yourself if you are new to a leadership role.

This week, here are 5 questions that you need to be asking your new team. Preparation really helps  build feelings of confidence. If you spend some time asking these questions, and listening to the  answers, you’ll be far better placed to lead with confidence. You’ll have a good understanding of where your team is now – and without that basic understanding, any changes you make will be made on shaky foundations.


In fact, they are great questions to ask at any stage during your role, however long you’ve been in it. It’s never too late to get clarity!

And remember – ask your own boss these questions too.

1. What do you expect of me?

It’s worth taking the time to find out how your team see your role – and how they expect you to carry it out. Different people like to be led and managed in different ways. I remember a team member of mine telling me that she liked to be ‘managed’ – that is she liked clear, firm boundaries and to be held accountable. Not for her the light-touch approach. Find out with your team what they expect of you as a team, and then find out what they expect of you individually. This will give you a valuable insight into what makes them tick, and how you can begin to communicate with them.

2.  What’s working well?

Before you go in making changes , you need to know what’s going well for the team and acknowledge this. Then you’ll be able to build on those strengths.

3. What’s the culture like around here?

The culture is simply ‘the way we do things’. By careful observation and listening skills, you’ll be able to get a good idea of this, but it’s always worth asking. How do people feel about working in the organisation? For more information on building a healthy culture, see ‘How’s your culture leave you feeling?’

4. What needs to change?

Before you begin to make any changes, you need to spend time asking people this question. Ask them what could be improved, and how.

5. Where do you think we should start?

Prioritising is a key skill that you’ll need to learn and master as a new leader. Of course, over the course of asking these questions you’ll probably have observed for yourself where changes might need to be made, or where strengths can be built. But people generally also know themselves what really needs to happen, even if nothing has been done about it before. Asking this question will get you some honest answers that will help you to prioritize what you need to address.

Once you have spent time listening to the answers to these questions, you’ll be in a far more confident position as a leader, ready to lead your team onwards and upwards. What do you think?

Susan Ritchie, Confidence MentorI’m Sue Ritchie and I help people to learn confident leadership skills for life. That’s whether you lead others or you’re looking to lead yourself more effectively. I work with leaders of all kinds, and their teams, to help them be more effective, happier and productive in the workplace and life.

If self-doubt holds you back, then pick up the phone and call me on 0780 1502743 or 01522 279025 . Or email