Introducing A New Leader
“It’s a very exciting opportunity” said Eddie Jones, newly appointed manager of England’s rugby team.
He further added “For me, it’s a great opportunity to coach these players and it’s a great legacy that Lancaster has left, there’s an opportunity to build something here.”
As a part of our business we deal with the introduction of many senior appointments and as such, it’s our job to understand the importance of recruiting the right person for the role, especially when this person is going to be introduced as a new manager to an existing team.
So what is important when integrating a new manager to a team? What concerns will the team have and how can the new leader manage this effectively?
Winning the hearts and minds of a new team is the first test you will face as a new leader and it is now your job to navigate the different personalities that make up every group of individuals who are asked to work as a team. Whether you’re taking over an existing team or starting a new one, it’s critical to devote time and energy to establishing how you want your team to work, not just what you want them to achieve. The first few weeks are critical. People form opinions pretty quickly, and these opinions tend to be sticky.
Show what you stand for
Use your initial interactions with team members as an opportunity to showcase your values. Explain what’s behind each of your decisions, what your priorities are, and how you will evaluate the team’s performance, individually and collectively. Walk them through what metrics you might use to gauge progress, so that they understand how they’ll be evaluated and what’s expected of them. Team members will want to know how you define success.
Keep your door open
If there’s one thing that new managers need to remember, it’s that over-communicating in the early days is preferable to the alternative. It’s always better to start with more structure, more touch points, more check-ins at the beginning, How you do that — via big meetings, one-on-ones, email, or shared progress reports — will vary from team to team and manager to manager, but whatever the communication method do as much as you can. I’ve never encountered a situation where a team member says, ‘Gosh, I wish the boss would stop communicating with me. I’m so sick of hearing from her.’ You just never hear that.
Explain how you want the team to work
You also need to explain in detail how you want the team to work. When you have newer team members coming on board, don’t assume that veteran team members will explain to the new recruits how meetings are supposed to be run or the best ways to ask for help; it’s your job as a leader to set expectations and explain processes. If you don’t make those norms clear for everyone, you risk creating an environment where people feel excluded, uncertain, or unwilling to contribute.
So far Eddie has done a sound job in integrating into his new role and has improved the team in several areas. This is a positive start but as with any team, there is also room for improvement and a leader should always strive to better themselves and their team. Like Eddie, if you are ready for a new challenge and are even considering a fresh start, why not update your CV and apply to one of our vacancies.
Sometimes moving on can bring a change in fortune. Who knows, with Eddies help… maybe we can even dream of securing the Grand Slam!
– Emma George –