Whether we are promoted from the inside or hired from the outside, we each inherit an existing team when we come into a leadership / management role. We inherit their ambitions, aspirations, hidden agendas, trust (or mistrust), loyalty (or lack of loyalty) and competencies (or incompetencies). We are challenged to do some type of assessment of the individual contribution each person makes – both to the team and the organization. As you begin your assessment of the team, keep in mind the environment in which people have become accustomed to operating and how it may have shaped their past decisions and actions. Below I have outlined some thoughts to keep in mind when shaping your management team:
Establishing a strong team is the best first step a leader can take toward executing a vision. You can’t execute a vision alone.
Avoid surrounding yourself with people like you – build a team with similar values but complementary skills.
Recognize that everyone has certain aptitudes and natural strengths / talents – organize the team so that each individual is playing to their individual strengths.
The bench strength / talent of the team will be the limiting factor of executing the vision – you won’t achieve more than the mental / intellectual capacity of the team.
As you evaluate the team you inherit – carefully study how well they are in control of their area and their command over the numbers / operating metrics of their area – if they don’t have intimiate detail knowledge – they likely need to be replaced with someone who has the capacity to execute to that level of detail.
Think quickly, act thoughtfully - people have enormous capacity if you give them a chance, set clear expectations, and hold them accountable.
You need someone you can trust with whom you can brainstorm, test waters, and gather opinions – an honest sounding board.
Set your meeting agendas and exectations clearly – poorly run meetings are one of the largest drains of time, money and intellectual capital. If you can’t run a meeting well, you likely can’t run a department nor a company.
Keep a short list of the top 3-5 priorities for the company – and keep everyone focused on these top priorities.
Lead by example – actions are always louder than words. Be a living example of the behaviors you wish others to exhibit. They will.