3 Dos and 3 Don’ts for New Managers of Existing Teams

Two men are standing with their backs to the camera as they face a group of six men and women who are sitting. One of the men who is standing is introducing the other to the group.

There’s always a learning curve when starting a new job, and the curve may be especially steep if you’re stepping in to manage an existing team. Whether you’re new to the company or to being a manager, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you make the transition.  

What To Do: 

  1. Get to Know the Team 

Meet with each team member to understand their job functions and biggest challenges. It’s likely that each employee already has processes in place for their work that they may be committed to, and it may take time for them to be comfortable sharing those systems with you.  

  1. Accept Feedback 

Feedback is a learning opportunity, but take it in stride. Information may come to you quickly, and it may conflict depending on the source. When you need to make decisions or are brainstorming a new initiative, ask for input from knowledgeable employees. Appreciate their feedback while avoiding becoming defensive or favoring input from any individuals or groups over others without merit.  

  1. Embrace Conflict  

Change at work can cause or heighten the effects of interpersonal conflict. If employees clash, mediate as needed and avoid taking sides as you won’t know the full story. If there isn’t an immediate resolution, attempt to find a compromise while you monitor the situation. Should you experience conflict with one of your employees, deescalate the situation and try to find the root of the issue to address the conflict at its source. 

What Not To Do:  

  1. Assume Your Way Is Right 

There is a plethora of knowledge you aren’t privy to when you join a team. When your decisions are questioned or your ideas are challenged by your employees, take time to listen. Have sincere conversations to understand the disagreement, then work together to find a solution. You can’t guarantee that everyone will be happy with the result, but you can encourage dialogue and make informed decisions.  

  1. Move Too Fast 

Getting a new manager can be difficult. An employee may have had a great relationship with their last boss, or they might be afraid of change at this point in their career. A new leader hastily implementing new practices can be a jarring experience that negatively impacts employees at work and home. You can be sympathetic to this by pacing yourself, prioritizing changes, sharing your reasoning, and asking for employees’ input. 

  1. Ask for More Than You’ve Earned 

It takes time to build trust, and your new employees may be skeptical of you until you do. You must prove yourself as a leader worthy of working for. Be authentic in your motivations. Respect your team’s knowledge, experience, and expertise. As trust builds, you can begin tackling bigger projects, implementing more impactful changes, and having more difficult conversations.  

What advice would you give to a manager taking over an established team? Share it in the comments!  

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