Inheriting a team poses unique leadership challenges. Without the benefit of hand selecting your own staff, inspiring and motivating a group of inherited employees can be complex. However, by employing research-backed management strategies, executives can transform skeptical inherited teams into fully invested, high-performing units. In this article, we will explore five essential tactics leaders should use when taking over previously assembled teams.
Get to Know Your Team as People First
When entering an inherited leadership role, refrain from swiftly overhauling processes. Instead, invest time understanding your new reports’ strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations on a human level. Schedule one-on-one meetings to establish rapport and trust before addressing work dynamics.
Admit You Have More to Learn
Avoid assuming you know best from day one. Be humble enough to admit you still need the team’s expertise to fully grasp existing systems and dynamics. Frequently, ask for their insights on optimization opportunities.
Leverage the Team’s Informal Leaders
Identify influential veterans who lead by example and whom other team members look up to. Getting these informal leaders bought into your vision early on and utilizing their sway can rally the rest of the staff.
Address Skeptics Tactfully
Inheritors who doubt the new leader out of resentment can sabotage progress. Hear their concerns calmly, then partner with them to find constructive solutions. Tactful persistence can eventually win over critics.
Offer Public Praise, Private Critiques
Celebrating team wins publicly fosters morale, while constructive feedback is best given privately to maintain dignity. Find opportunities to recognize achievements among staff.
Leading an group you didn’t assemble demands empathy, patience, and emotional intelligence from executives. By personalizing interactions, leveraging insider expertise, and celebrating growth, inherited teams can transform into loyal, high-achieving units in time. With the right strategies, this leadership journey reaps immense rewards.