A typical career path is to join a team that is already in place.  When we do, we have an opportunity to be an agent of change.  We have been hired because we bring skill and experience and the expectation is we will add value.  Rarely do the methods/processes of the new team match our experiences, the lessons we’ve learned, or the vision we have to make improvements.

Great leaders spend some time in the beginning of this chapter of their career asking questions.  They have an idea of what success looks like, but they are wise to not assume all solutions will fit every situation.  By asking questions, including the critical, “What’s working?”, a leader can determine priority and ultimately help the team the fastest.

For example, with the critical topic of knowledge, there is probably someone, somewhere in the org that has correct information.  By learning who are the subject matter experts, defining and documenting the roster of who knows what, and then finally empowering them to share their knowledge, a great leader just completed a critical early step: tapping into the fount of knowledge – at the source.

But if you, the new person to the group, assume you know the best way to accomplish a task, because it’s what worked well at my last job and it’s the reason they hired me here anyways, you’ll miss your opportunity to assess, prioritize, partner, and ultimately deliver.

Bonus: we’re all leaders, regardless of level.  Any person, at any level in an organization can lead and effect change.