If you’ve become the leader of a previously established team, you might feel like the odd man out. Chances are the employees on the team already know each other, and you’re the new kid on the block. It’s natural to be a little nervous about being the new boss. But all you need is to find a way to get off on the right foot.
Getting to Know All About Them
First, don’t worry about finding out what the previous leader was like or what they did. The people on your team are the ones you really need to become familiar with.
What do they do? Understand what their roles and responsibilities are beyond the specifics of their job description. How do they fit into the processes and goals of the team? Who relies on their work, and who do they rely on?
What do they like? Gauge their interest in their current roles. A change of leadership can be a good opening to change up outdated processes or inefficient distribution of work.
Where do they want to go? Learn how they want to grow professionally. Even if they’re perfectly happy in their job, see how they want to develop their skills or take on more responsibilities.
Setting Team Goals
Once you’ve gotten to know your new employees, it’s important to be proactive and give them goals to aim for—don’t just coast along with the routine that was set up by the boss before you. Without goals, you won’t have any guideposts when you run into challenges or have to choose between priorities.
Include the team in this process. Let everyone bring their experience and expertise to the table with group brainstorming. Giving them a say in the team’s goals will strengthen their investment.
Don’t forget to make the goals measurable and specific. Set your team up for success by making sure they won’t be hampered by vague expectations or unrealistic benchmarks.
Find out what resources these goals call for.As the team’s leader, it’s up to you to ensure that everyone has access to what they need, whether it’s technology and materials or communication channels and knowledge sources.
Get individual buy-in from each team member. Unified commitment to the group goals is the only way they’ll be achieved.
Getting Your Team to Gel
Don’t forget the fun! An essential part of making a team work is fostering a positive community. So break the ice with activities that get everyone outside of the usual office environment. Try volunteering, attending professional meet-ups, or even organizing a pub crawl. The change in scenery can help you build bridges with team members in a way that sitting at your desk can’t accomplish.
And before you know it, you’ll be a part of the team and your apprehensions will be a thing of the past.