Leading a New Team: Part 1

Being asked to take over leading a new team in a new area of responsibility is a fantastic opportunity. Congratulations! The situation allows you to look at things with fresh eyes. Everyone gets a clean slate, the people on the team and the leader herself. It’s a situation built for growth and meaningful improvement.

Preparation for Leading a New Team:

Step 1: Clear your mind of any current judgments, biases, and prejudices you have about this new team and start everyone with a clean slate. The non-performers will get a fresh start and the performers will have to keep performing to impress you, the new leader.

Step 2: Understand the expectations for this transition. Why is the change being made? Why you? What do we want to happen going forward? How will the success of this transition be judged? You need to know the answers to all of these questions before you can begin planning.

Step 3: Make sure that your previous team is being cared for. What will happen to them? Is it in their best interest? Have you made sure you have publicized their success adequately? Should someone on your former team be considered to take over leading for you? Have you said your “Thank You’s”? Is there something you could do to make sure their transition is successful? Remember, it was your team that got you promoted, not your boss.

Identifying Your Upside:

Here is what you need to identify, understand, and leverage during your transition. This is the big question: Where is my upside?

Look for:

  • Raw talent
  • Offices, departments, or divisions trending poorly
  • Market opportunities
  • People who may be in the wrong role
  • Specialists
  • Coaches who know how to train
  • Small segments of the business that are trending positively

These are your most obvious areas for growth. This is your low-hanging fruit.

Who on your new team will be brand-new for you?

Is this a team you’re familiar with, or will you be leading a group of strangers? Brand-new people are a great opportunity. Your priorities, communications, and overall leadership style will be fresh with these people, and it will be easier to make an impact.

Who are the five to ten people who will determine whether this transition succeeds?

And what’s in it for them if the transition fails or succeeds? Ignore titles, tenure, and previous performance. There will be a small group of individuals who will be the reason your new team succeeds or fails. It may not be immediately obvious to you who they are. You absolutely need to figure it out before you start making any big plans.

Part 2 outlines six important considerations to maximize fresh thoughts in your new role.


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1 Comment
  1. […] Part 1 we covered three steps to prepare and what to look for to be successful in your new role. In Part […]

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