Well done! You now have a new amazing team to work with. It might be a temporary team, as a project team, or it might be your first long-term team. Anyway here are my 7 tips to start on the right foot:
1 - be patient
Remember that real change is slow. You are planning to create a winning team, and that means taking the time to observe, orient, decide, act OODA loop.
If you come from technical expertise, you need to change perspective, you now manage people, and people do not like to be told what to do and even worst, forced into doing things.
You, the leader, need to transition from being a doer to a protector of doers and care for them. And remember, everyone is smart
2 - Talk to your direct reports
Have at least 2 one-to-one with each of the persons reporting to you, asking questions like:
- How are you? (the most important one)
- What is your role in the team?
- What is the role of your peers?
- What bothered you last week?
- If you were in my shoes, what would you do first?
- What would you do next?
And listen, only listen, but listen to everyone. This is not yet the time to act, this is the time to observe.
3 - Talk to your reports-reports
If you can talk with everyone reporting directly or indirectly to you. If that is not possible, make sure you also at least with people 2 levels below you. Use the same questions of point 2
4 - Talk with your peers and boss
Guess what, next is to talk with your boss and if possible with his/her peers too. Ideas of questions to ask:
- what is your role in the company? - This will give you some ideas about politics and delivery
- what your objectives are? - The best way to deliver is to help your boss get promoted :)
- with whom will my team interface with you and your team? - How do we work as a bigger team and where do you fit.
5 - see how it works
Using patience, have a look at how people interact, do meetings and deliver results. You will learn about people and connections in the team. It will also identify the points where improvement is needed.
6 - identify your role
Make it clear to your team what your role is and how you manage. If you like to be hands-on or hands-off, your expertise and how to contact you.
7 - set your working rules
The objective of working rules is to allow people to make their own decisions as much as possible and to make it clear when to involve you.
Setting team rules is a great team-bonding exercise. In the first instance, I recommend you work with everyone what a successful delivery is and how it goes. During the exercise, identify all the decision/approval points and for each creates scenarios.
For example, in the case of a call-centre of a tech company, managing complains and request. Customers will have issues that involve some cost for the company. The standard process is to fill a form, justify the expense, get approval, then send the money to the customer. This takes time and will have a limited impact on the customer’s mood.
If on the other side, to solve problems immediately, save time for people and customer and provide excellent customers service you could create a scenario like this: if the issue of the customer costs less than $20 to solve, solve it!, without need for approval. If it is between $20 and $50 put me immediately on the phone (intending to solve ASAP); otherwise, we need to follow the (usually) standard process.
comments are welcome