You’re new in management and you inherited a dysfunctional team. Welcome to reality. We’ve all been there. Most leaders are not trained to build teams, so if you plan on progressing your career, this won’t be the last time you inherit a team who needs your expertise.
These articles from Titus Talent Strategies and Monster outline the best strategies to address your new team. It’s important to understand where your employees are coming from. Monster’s writer Joe Issid knows that many people will begin muttering “he’s going to bring in his own people” and rumors erupt. Your job is to begin building relationships as quickly as possible.
Here are my takeaways:
1. Take the Lead: They may not be working well together or performing the way you want them to. This can be fixed and you’re the one to do that. Kris Hamilton from Titus states, “So before you start cleaning house and hiring a new team, which will cost you more in the long-term, decide to take the leadership challenge and turn the ship around.”
2. Know your Audience: Do some research to find out a little bit about each person. Know that Millennials are driven differently that Gen X-ers. But, just because they’re a millennial, doesn’t mean all millennials are the same.
3. Listen: Our blog, “Communicate with Your Ears” outlines the importance of listening. This is the perfect time to do that. Meet with each person one-on-one. Take inventory of each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Prepare yourself with good probing questions that will engage them and begin to build trust. I love one of Kris’ questions, “What do you need to thrive here and how can I help?”
4. Don’t jump to conclusions: Monster’s Issid states “Take charge without taking over.” Just because you think you know how to fix the problems, doesn’t mean you’re right. If you go in with foregone conclusions, that will show, plus it’s hard to change once you find out more about the situation.
5. Move forward: Team members will start talking about “the way things used to be” with their old boss. Could be good history or bad history. State that was in the past and you’re moving forward.
6. Over-Communicate: Be sure that you’re aligned with the organization’s vision and values, then state what you know they can accomplish together. Establish priorities, clarify roles, and provide continued feedback. Over-communicate in those first months together.
Above all, be patient! This takes time. Not a week or a month. Keep stating your vision, living the values of the organization, setting performance goals, and communicating with clarity. This builds trust in the team and over time, they’ll be functioning better than ever.