Take Your Time and Avoid These Rookie Management Mistakes
Congratulations on your new promotion. It feels good, doesn’t it? Maybe a little bit scary at the same time, but you’ve got a new team, new responsibilities and probably a new working environment and other senior colleagues who you want to impress. So, you may think you can plough ahead and stamp your mark and your brand on the situation and make an amazing name for yourself.
But before you jump in with both feet, and with your eyes tightly shut, step back and have a think about the situation. Because the worst thing you can do is to start to try and mould your new team into what you think you want them to be. Here are three easy mistakes to make which may come back to haunt you faster than you may think.
Fixing what isn’t broken
If you’re inheriting a team, especially one that’s been working together for any length of time, they will probably have a way of working together that has been developed over a period of time. They will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses better than you, and probably better than your predecessor.
By all means, explain your values and high-level expectations of how you hope you can operate together, but don’t start laying down the law until you’ve got a good idea of the team dynamics, the way they work and how they achieve what’s asked of them. They may be doing great things that you’ve never heard of and it would be a mistake to throw that away simply because you work differently. You need to adapt to them as much as they need to adapt to you. What worked for you in a previous team may well be at odds with how things are done in the new environment and with a different set of individuals.
Don’t upset members of your team by reassigning them or changing their roles in the first few weeks. Make sure you have a full understanding of what each and every team member is currently working on. There are probably good reasons for their current assignments especially if they have a history of self-organisation.
Focusing on yourself not your team
Of course, you want to impress your new colleagues just as they are going to want to impress you, but introducing yourself and your achievements in your previous role(s) should be a gradual process as part of the forming, storming, norming, performing cycle. Spend your first few days or weeks getting to know the individuals in the team if you don’t already. Use one to one meetings and team meetings and listen more than you speak. You need to understand their roles, skills, needs and desires and learn how to harness these for a common good.
Telling your new team how much you’ve achieved in your career and how wonderful you are might impress them, but it’s more likely to come across as arrogance and send the wrong messages from the outset.
Contrary to what you may think, your primary role is to support your team not the other way around. It may be your name in the organisation chart and you may be the one who is held accountable, but the team is not there to make you look good. Their role is to do what is demanded by the needs of the wider organisation or customer. If you happen to look good because of them, that’s a bonus, not a right.
Trying to figure it out without asking
There’s often a tendency to think that you’re the smartest person in the room. That’s why you got the job!
Unless you’ve been promoted from within the team, you’re probably going to have a lot to learn, and probably in a very short time. Sure, you can do it on your own, but talking to and listening to your new colleagues will make the task a lot easier and a lot quicker. The only thing to watch out for is that you don’t get caught up with their in-built bias and to watch out for hidden agendas. One to ones will get you a long way, but use team sessions to get different perspectives.
You should garner as much information from within your team before you start asking people outside, especially from other managers. The people who are closest to the work will have the most honest assessment of what’s going well and what’s going badly — and the picture they paint collectively will be far more valuable than the pictures painted by outsiders and especially other leaders who may be looking through rose-coloured glasses.
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success (Henry Ford)
Teams often get quite excited when they get a new manager or leader. But they will have concerns at the same time and the worst thing you can do is lose their support because you’ve pushed your way in and steamrollered over their hopes and aspirations. This is especially true of mature teams and upsetting or demotivating a team with a proven track record is not going to do anyone any favours.
If you play things right, you’ll have plenty of time to work with your team to reach even higher levels. Or you bluster your way through and destroy a good team in weeks…it’s your choice!
Originally posted on my Business blog (https://allygillcouk.blogspot.com/).
I am an independent management consultant specialising in organisational change management and better ways of working. I’m from the UK but based in Prague in the Czech Republic. I also write about working in the Apple ecosystem (https://appleharvest.blogspot.com/) and about my adopted home in Prague (https://onlyinbohemia.blogspot.com/), but I’m new to Medium (so please be gentle with me!)