A Piece That’s Likely Missing From Your Onboarding Process

It is essential to consider leadership styles of managers for whom new hires will be working.

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May 16, 2023

Every HR leader has uttered some version of the adage, “People join companies but quit managers.” And yet, if you look at what’s covered in the typical new-hire onboarding, rarely are new employees taught how to build the best working relationship with their new boss.

If managers are truly honest with themselves, they’ll discover that they have more than a few preferences, do’s and don’ts, quirks, and non-negotiable expectations. And knowing the boss’ most deeply-held expectations would get every employee up to speed more quickly and with less stress.

Of course, not every manager feels comfortable enough to share all of their quirks right out of the gate. If that’s the case for your leaders, start more broadly and focus on teaching new hires how to work with each of the four primary leadership styles.

Pragmatist leaders are goal-oriented and driven, with high standards for themselves and their teams. They excel in pushing their team members to develop their strengths and weaknesses, focusing on achieving results and overcoming obstacles.

Idealist leaders are high-energy, charismatic individuals who inspire growth and creativity in their teams. They foster a democratic and open-minded environment, emphasizing the importance of learning and personal development for everyone involved.

Steward leaders provide stability and structure, valuing process, cooperation, and reliability within their teams. They prioritize the success and cohesion of the group as a whole, ensuring that all team members are supported and guided in a clear chain of command.

Diplomat leaders prioritize interpersonal harmony and strong connections within their teams, often acting as the social glue that binds the group together. They excel at conflict resolution and create supportive environments that enable their team members to leverage their individual strengths.

With those four styles of leadership in mind, here are some do’s and don’ts for each one that you can share with new hires.

Working for a Pragmatist Leader

  • Pragmatist leaders have high expectations for themselves and their team members. New hires should be prepared to consistently perform at their best and strive for excellence in all tasks.
  • Focus on achieving goals and delivering results, as pragmatist leaders prioritize accomplishments and outcomes. New hires should set clear, measurable objectives and regularly track their progress.
  • Working for a pragmatist leader can be challenging, so it’s essential for new hires to develop a thick skin and learn to manage constructive criticism effectively. Embracing feedback and using it as a learning opportunity will be vital for growth and success.
  • Dedication and commitment are highly valued by pragmatist leaders. New hires should be prepared to work hard, take ownership of their responsibilities, and consistently deliver high-quality work.
  • Pragmatist leaders expect continuous growth and improvement, so it’s essential to push yourself and strive for excellence.
  • Do not take criticism personally or become defensive when receiving feedback. Instead, view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Pragmatist leaders value team members who are receptive to constructive criticism and willing to adapt accordingly.

Working for an Idealist Leader

  • Idealist leaders prioritize self-development and growth, both for themselves and their team members. New hires should be open to learning new skills, expanding their knowledge, and actively seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  • Idealist leaders value creativity and innovation. New hires should feel comfortable sharing their ideas, engaging in brainstorming sessions, and exploring unconventional solutions to challenges.
  • Idealist leaders appreciate team members who show enthusiasm, take ownership of their tasks, and actively contribute to the team’s goals. New hires should be proactive in identifying areas where they can add value and seek out opportunities to make a positive impact.
  • Idealist leaders promote a democratic and inclusive work environment, where every team member’s voice matters. New hires should be prepared to collaborate with their colleagues, share ideas, and actively contribute to a positive and supportive team dynamic.
  • Avoid stagnation and complacency when it comes to personal and professional development. Idealist leaders expect their team members to continuously learn, grow, and improve.
  • Do not be closed-minded or unwilling to explore new ideas and creative solutions. Idealist leaders appreciate team members who think outside the box and contribute diverse perspectives to problem-solving.

Working for a Steward Leader

  • Steward leaders value rules, procedures, and established systems. New hires should be prepared to follow established processes, respect organizational hierarchy, and adhere to guidelines.
  • Steward leaders value reliability and consistency in their team members. New hires should strive to be punctual, meet deadlines, and deliver high-quality work consistently.
  • Clear and effective communication is essential in a structured work environment. New hires should be prepared to communicate professionally with their colleagues and superiors, providing updates on their progress, seeking clarification when needed, and being responsive to feedback.
  • Steward leaders move at a pace that suits the entire team, ensuring that no one is left behind. New hires should be patient and understanding, adapting to the team’s pace and offering assistance to colleagues who may need help keeping up.
  • Avoid neglecting established procedures or attempting to bypass organizational systems. Steward leaders value structure and adherence to rules, so it’s essential to follow guidelines and respect the established processes.
  • Do not prioritize personal achievements over the team’s success or isolate yourself from your colleagues. Steward leaders value collaboration and teamwork, so it’s important to actively contribute to a supportive and cooperative team environment.

Working for a Diplomat Leader

  • Diplomat leaders value interpersonal harmony and deep personal connections. New hires should invest time and effort in getting to know their colleagues and building strong working relationships.
  • Clear, open, and respectful communication is essential when working with a diplomat leader. New hires should be prepared to express their thoughts and ideas diplomatically, listen actively to their colleagues, and engage in constructive conversations.
  • Diplomat leaders appreciate team members who work well with others and contribute to a positive team dynamic. New hires should be supportive of their colleagues, share knowledge and resources, and actively collaborate on projects.
  • As diplomat leaders excel in resolving conflicts peacefully, new hires should be prepared to address disagreements or misunderstandings in a respectful and constructive manner, focusing on finding mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Diplomat leaders value empathy and emotional intelligence. New hires should be sensitive to the feelings and needs of their colleagues, actively listen to others, and demonstrate compassion and understanding in their interactions.
  • Avoid contributing to a hostile or negative atmosphere within the team. Diplomat leaders prioritize a harmonious work environment, and maintaining a positive attitude and respecting the perspectives of others is essential.

Remember that no matter how well you train new hires on all your company’s policies and procedures, much of their success and engagement will depend on their working relationship with their manager. Giving every new hire a way to accelerate that relationship is one of the best things you can do to ensure their success.

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