What to do when taking over an existing team


"What should I do when taking over an existing team as a new manager?" If you're in this situation, you may be concerned on what you should focus on first, especially if there are certain cultural issues or issues that were with the last manager.

First and foremost, I think in this situation, it can be extraordinarily tempting to come in and put the hero cape on and roll up the sleeves and just start changing things right off the bat – especially things that seem very obvious to you, archaic processes, micromanaging tendencies, all of that.

Now, while all those changes you might eventually make, what I would recommend doing first is actually sitting on your hands for a little bit, at least for a few weeks, because what you want to do first as a new leader, especially of an existing team that maybe has undergone a bit of trauma.

In short, go on a Listen-and-Learn Tour. Spend time really talking to folks and understanding what the underlying issues are before you go in and make a bunch of changes as a new manager.

Which brings me to the second thing to focus on when taking over an existing team: Zoom in on 1:1 interactions.

It is likely quite obvious as a new leader to want to share in your all team meetings sort of big statements and to really share about your vision for the team, all of that good stuff. But what we often overlook, especially as new leaders, is the one-to-one communication.

Think about the one-to-one interaction and meetings that you're having and not just the one-to-many communications. So this means, in your one-on-one meetings with your direct reports, to ask two critical questions:

#1: "What is or has been the biggest barrier to your success?"
#2: "What should I be aware of in terms of working dynamics or preferences that help you get into your best flow state?"

Ask those two questions and focus on the one-to-one communication, not just the one-to-many. So I hope those tips are helpful in terms of an initial start, and look forward to sharing more of these videos with you in the future. Thanks.

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