Ian Hayward

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Jumping into a new team as a manager

January 05, 2023

Pointers on the daunting task of becoming the manager of an existing team.

Starting a new job as a manager can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming, especially if you are joining a new team. Whether you are moving to a new company or a new department within your organization, there are a few key steps you can take to make the transition smoother and get up to speed more quickly. In this article, we’ll break down what you can do in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job to determine and improve your team’s ways of working.

30 days:

Get to know your team: Your first priority should be to get to know your new team members. Take the time to introduce yourself, learn about their roles and responsibilities, and find out how they prefer to work. This will help you build rapport and understand how your team operates.

Observe and ask questions: Pay attention to how your team works and ask questions to get a better understanding of their processes and tools. Ask about the team’s goals, challenges, and successes, and try to get a sense of their work culture.

Find out who the key players are: Determine who the key players are on your team and try to get to know them. These may be subject matter experts, team leads, or other influential team members. Building relationships with these individuals will help you get up to speed more quickly and navigate your new team more effectively.

Communicate your vision and goals: As a manager, it’s important to communicate your vision and goals for the team. Share your expectations and make sure that your team understands how their work fits into the bigger picture.

60 days:

Start contributing: After you have had a chance to observe and learn, it’s time to start contributing to your team. This might mean taking on small tasks or projects, or offering to help out with ongoing work. The goal is to demonstrate your value and start building your reputation within the team.

Identify areas for improvement: As you get more comfortable with your team and their ways of working, start looking for areas where you can add value. This might be by suggesting new tools or processes, or by finding ways to streamline existing workflows.

Seek feedback: Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your team members. This can help you understand how you are perceived and where you can improve. Use this feedback to adjust your approach and better understand your team’s needs and expectations.

Define roles and responsibilities: Make sure that your team understands their roles and responsibilities clearly. This will help them know what is expected of them and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

90 days:

Take on more responsibility: As you gain more experience and build your reputation within the team, start taking on more responsibility. This might involve leading small projects or taking on additional tasks and responsibilities.

Make your mark: By now, you should have a good understanding of your team’s goals and ways of working. Use this knowledge to make a positive impact and contribute to your team’s success.

Build relationships outside of your team: In addition to building relationships within your team, start networking and building relationships with other teams and departments. This can help you better understand the broader organization and find opportunities for collaboration.

Set performance goals: As a manager, it’s important to set performance goals for your team and track progress towards these goals. This will help you measure the team’s performance and identify areas for improvement.

Beyond 90 days:

Continue learning: No matter how long you have been with your team, there is always more to learn. Keep an open mind and be willing to learn from your team members and other colleagues.

Foster a culture of continuous improvement: Encourage your team to regularly review and assess their ways of working and look for opportunities to improve. This might involve experimenting with new tools or processes, or seeking feedback from other teams.

Develop your team: As a manager, it’s your responsibility to help your team grow and develop. This might involve providing training and development opportunities, setting performance goals, or offering feedback and support.

Lead by example: As a manager, your team looks to you for guidance and direction. Make sure that you are setting a good example by being reliable, respectful, and proactive.

In conclusion, moving into a new team as a manager can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can quickly get up to speed and make a positive impact. By getting to know your team, observing and asking questions, and communicating your vision and goals, you can build relationships and understand your team’s ways of working. As you gain more experience and build your reputation, you can take on more responsibility, make your mark, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. With the right approach, you can be a successful leader and help your team succeed.

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