After successful completion of all recruitment process steps, the time comes for the new manager’s first meeting with their team. It is common knowledge that the manager’s relations with their employees are pivotal to the whole team’s results and first impressions often last. In this article, I point to some things a manager can do while meeting a new team to give a good start to the co-operation.
- Build trust – don’t start with presenting a vision
It is not the purpose of your first meeting with the team to present at once the vision for the coming year – it should rather be a space to build trust and to create good rapport in the team environment you intend to support. In the first days of working with a team, your first tasks as the manager comprise:
- demonstrating, that you are worthy of the team’s trust,
- showing your willingness to learn,
- assuring the team that you want to help and support them.
- Get to know each member of your team – take notes
Meet the team members in person, show interest in their opinions, passions, hobby. Individual conversations and group meetings will allow you to capture the relations within the team, learn about the issues that your employees face on an everyday basis and will also let you build a strategy for further action.
- Establish clear limits in relations with the team
Despite recommendations to get to know your team on a personal level, you have to remember about a certain hierarchy in the office. To friendly relations may lead to a feeling of partiality and favouring some employees, which may have impact on the whole team’s morale. If you become friends with other people in the company, remember to maintain professional relations while at work.
- Establish communication principles
Open communication results in new ideas and co-operation, which is pivotal for any team. Each person in the team should feel that they have their say in the company, regardless of their position.
- Be prepared for difficult questions
Remember, at the meetings with your team, they may ask questions which will pose difficulties in answering them at once. Be prepared to answer the questions honestly. It is a valuable lesson. Since the first day you may show your team that you are there also to learn from them, e.g. about the direction and changes, which should be implemented to improve things.
- Always be available to your employees
Such attitude is associated with an ‘open door’ policy. Inform your employees that you want to support them, answer to questions, issues and worries in due time. This level of openness will allow you to create mutual respect and will facilitate your team in effectively performing their day-to-day job.
Good relations between the manager and team members will certainly boost work productivity. Satisfaction with the team spirit encourages employees to share their ideas, be creative, engaged, motivated and, most importantly, they identify themselves with the company.
While recruiting managers to an already existing team, BIGRAM consultants put special emphasis on competencies such as: communication skills, integrating the teams with focus on the tasks and stimulating their engagement. The ability to listen, good socialising skills and team working capabilities are also important. Managers who enter the structure of an existing team should be communicative, meaning that they can clearly, unambiguously express their opinion, that they can listen and adjust what they say to the level of their interlocutors.
From the manager’s perspective, it is crucial to be informed, already during the recruitment process, of the up-to-date condition of the team, the atmosphere and relations within it.
It is the new manager’s credibility that shapes the way they are perceived by the team. The way managers are perceived by the employees, their superiors and managers of other teams has a very significant influence on the effectiveness of working on the new position. Since the very moment of joining the team, all their behaviours and decisions are observed and evaluated by their co-workers. I am certain that following these suggestions will largely facilitate the new manager entering the team’s structure.
Eliza Lisowska, BIGRAM