Whether you’re a new manager and are running your first team meeting or a seasoned veteran who’s just inherited a new team, here are 6 things to set your new team up for success.
First team meeting agenda template:
- How can I best support the team as a manager?
- What’s the best way for us to communicate as a team?
- Meeting cadence – When? Where? How often?
- Expectations (for you and me)
Icebreakers are not only a great way for teammates to get to know one another, but they also energize the room. The more people feel comfortable with speaking up in meetings, the better set up your team will be when it comes to having productive meetings.
On the SoapBox marketing team, we call this item our “Fun question of the week.” A new silly question is posed each week, including:
- What’s your favorite fruit?
- What’s one cuisine you couldn’t live without?
- What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Another type of icebreaker we use is starting the meeting off on a positive note by asking, “What’s one thing, professionally or personally that you’re jazzed about this week? 🤩”
2. How can I best support the team as a manager?
This is such an open-ended question, and a lot of direct reports aren’t expecting it. To help get the conversation started, try providing a few examples of how you feel you can support the team. This can be as simple as, “If you’re stuck on a task and are unsure about the best way moving forward, I’m happy to talk through potential solutions.”
Try going round table with this question to give everyone an opportunity to speak up and share their thoughts.
3. What’s the best way for us to communicate as a team?
This can be dividing communications by tools. For example, here’s how we break up our communications on the SoapBox marketing team:
- Slack for short on-the-fly discussions (or we talk in person).
- Asana for all comms related to project management and task-oriented things.
- SoapBox for all things one-on-ones and team meetings.
If you’re an engineering or product team, maybe you live in Jira as opposed to Asana. The point of this agenda item is so that everyone on the team is on the same page when it comes to where everything lives, and a big part of that is communication.
4. Meeting cadence – When? Where? How often?
Take this time to discuss how frequently everyone feels the team should meet. Are mornings better than the afternoon? Is it better to meet at the start of the week or at the end? If you’re a remote team, what virtual meeting room will you use?
At SoapBox, we work in 2-week sprints so our marketing team meetings happen bi-weekly for an hour. As an onsite team, we meet in a meeting room in the office.
5. Expectations (for you and for me)
Although this will (and should) be done in your one-on-ones, use this time to set expectations for working with your team. Here are some things to consider:
- What are the values you want your team to live by every day?
- How will you, as a team, create a psychologically safe space where everyone feels comfortable to share ideas and feedback with the team?
- Will you encourage your team (and yourself) to sometimes step out of your own role to work on other projects for the company? Think Google’s 20% rule.
- What does it mean for work to be “done”? Ask your team to walk you through their thoughts.
Leave time in your meeting for questions. You want everyone in this meeting to leave with as much clarity as possible because it will set the tone for how your team operates moving forward.