Seven steps to help incoming leaders engage a newly inherited team

April, 2016
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If you are moving into a new leadership role or executive position, it is highly likely you will be inheriting a new team. This transition time is a critical period for forming effective relationships and for defining expectations yet in our experience many executives do not give sufficient consideration beforehand to how they should approach the transition.  It can be a disruptive time for all involved. You are aware that you are being scrutinised by your new team and they are aware you are evaluating their contribution. It’s essential you are focusing on building team cohesiveness. But at the same time, you must also be taking an objective look at the capabilities of the team and forming views about the right way forward.

It’s an issue that has been discussed recently by Deloitte in their report ‘Executive transitions: Steps for re-recruiting and engaging your team’.  The paper, authored by global director for research and transition initiatives Dr. Ajit Kambil, focuses on 3 key considerations – your team inheritance, your CEO’s or manager’s expectations and your team’s sense of ‘What’s in it for me?’ – to help identify seven key steps an incoming leader can take during the early days, weeks and months of the transition to effectively engage a newly inherited team.

The steps highlight the importance of effective communication whether it is making the team aware how you are spending your time, authentically connecting with your direct reports or considering the impact of the information you are sharing about yourself. They also acknowledge some of the harder decisions that may need to be made in the early days to address any dysfunctional aspects of the team.