A New Manager ……….

July 12th, 2010 by Martin Smith Leave a reply »

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday who was telling me about a new Manager within their organisation. Following a re-structure this person has been appointed to the newly created role of Area Manager and is responsible for 2 or 3 teams spread across a geographical area.

The story continued in that the new Area Manager has now been in position for approximately 5 weeks and to date there has been no contact with their new team(s) either individually or collectively. It appears that the only way to get to meet with the new manager is to phone them direct and ask for an appointment in their diary.

This approach raises a number of questions in my mind such as;

  • Has the new manager any previous experience of taking on existing teams before?
  • Has the new manager received any coaching/advice about setting up from their boss?
  • How important is the team to the new manager?
  • How does this approach impact on the team? Will they feel valued or important?
  • What expectations does the new manager have of their team and how will they find out about them?
  • What plans do they have to communicate with their team?
  • Have they received any training or coaching to help them prepare for managing/leading a team of people?


There are many more questions that could be asked here………..

In my experience this is a far from the best way to start off with a new team for any new manager, let alone an Area Manager with perhaps more than one team. “So what would be the best start?” Well, certainly a more structured and perhaps thought-out approach is likely to be more effective. Perhaps it might look something like this;

  • Work with your boss to fully understand your job role
    – Company expectations of your new role
    – Your bosses expectations of you
    – The Performance standards expected
    – Specific targets or measures for you to achieve


  • Get to know your new team as soon as possible
    – Discuss and share experience within the team
    – Social events are a great way to get to know each other
    – Relationships and TRUST take time to build so ‘little and often’ is not a bad approach to adopt
    – Be open to feedback, seek opinions and involve the team in any proposed changes
    – Ask them what they need/expect from you
    – Let them know what you need/expect from them


  • Plan Your Initial Approach to the team(s) – Understand your team and its role in the organisation (this may even be before you start your new job)
    Look at your team’s fit within the larger organization or unit
    – Review the purpose of the team
    – Review objectives for the team with your boss
    – Take stock of the new team – who’s in it? background, feedback from customers/clients etc.
    – Try to identify any likely problems or issues
    – Communicate with your boss and keep them informed


  • Plan and run your First Team Meeting(s)
    What key messages do you want to send?
    – What expectations and “rules for operating” do you want to establish?
    – What do you want to tell the team about how you like to work with team members?
    – What information from the team do you need to ask for?
    – What do you want to say about next steps?
    – How should you structure your agenda?
    – Make sure you use your agenda
    – Listen and observe everyone during the meeting. Make notes as appropriate
    – Focus on next steps, especially with objectives
    – How can you get to know each other better going forward? What would the team like to know?


  • Schedule Individual Meetings as soon as possible
    Get to know the individuals in your team
    – What do they like/not like
    – How do they like to be managed?
    – What support do they expect from you as boss?


  • Conduct Individual Follow-up Meetings
    Continue to get to know your team,
    – Monitor progress and offer support as necessary


  • Continue communicating with your own boss.
    They are a great source of information and advice
    – Keep them in the loop of progress and issues and what plans you have to tackle them


  • Make plans to review progress and correct your direction as may be necessary


Of course, this is just one approach and each situation should be assessed carefully to ensure that the best approach is selected. My preference would be to work directly with the new leader, exploring options and ideas to help them set their team up to get the ‘smoothest’ transition to new leadership as possible.

What would you suggest best practice in the instance quoted above? I would be happy to see your ideas.

Martin Smith Learning and Development Ltd – Developing your people to GROW your business

We are a specialist consultancy working with leaders at all levels to improve their relationships with the people that they interact with both internally and externally to the company. We work with organisations, teams and individuals to identify how they can get the best from their people. We have experience spanning diverse industries and encompassing sectors such as engineering, design, customer service, finance, supply chain, sales and procurement.


To discuss how Martin Smith Learning and Development Ltd can help you and your business please contact us;


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