I will soon be transferring geographically and organizationally to a new team. The reason is that the local team is expanding, and they need a leader/manager to organize the team (amongst other reasons).

I have done this a couple of times and have picked up on a few learnings:

* Don't try to change things off the bat. Have a strategy after gathering the facts.
* Listen, listen, listen. A lot of people will want to tell you their stories about what is wrong with this team or their own personal grudge. Don't make any judgments in the beginning, but give them a feeling that they have been heard and that you appreciate their comments.
* Try to find out who your star players are and build a plan which will actively involve them. (Your star players are usually those that come in with a constructive message rather than a destructive message.)
* Structure communication with the team using 1x1s, coaching, etc.
* Have a metaphor about change in hand when you eventually do need to make changes. Most people will not like change because they might feel that the implication is "what you did in the past was wrong". The metaphor should be something about how things naturally change over time and what we did before was the best we could do at that time with the information we had.

This is just off the top of my head and relates only about managing staff. The other side of the coin will be managing internal clients (I will be managing support staff) as well as managing my relationship with my superiors.

However, where I have often tripped up in this case is with directs...trying to change things to quickly, having a short fuse for those who don't want to change, etc.

I'd be interested in other advice about leading a new team that you have inherited.



tlhausmann's picture
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* Listen, listen, listen.
* Structure communication with the team using 1x1s, coaching, etc.

Hi Tony,

Addressing the two points you make (quoted) I would (1) endorse "Talking less, listening more" (2) endorse one on ones.

With respect to internal clients--get to know everyone. Consciously make every effort to know and speak one-to-one with peers and others in the organization. Memorize names and faces if you have a resource available to do this.

For one appointment I successfully built bridges across the whole organization by expending significant effort upfront in my first few days to meet LOTS of people through all levels of the organization.