Managing any team is always at least a little testing – but, starting off as a new manager to a newly formed team is a step up the ladder when it comes to team management challenges:
- You’ll be gaining responsibility for a group of people who likely haven’t worked with each other before.
- You’ll be gaining responsibility for a group of people you likely haven’t worked with before.
- And, you’ll need to make sure you bring these people together with common goals and ground rules.
So, to help you with all of it, here are 6 actionable new team leader tips on how best to dive into managing a new team:
Tip #1 – Send a “new manager introduction email” 📧
What new managers should do first?
Well, they should introduce themselves properly.
If you’re just starting out in a new company, chances are that your employer has already sent out an introductory email about you to the team.
But, it’s best that you also say a couple of words to your team yourself, before getting started – just to make sure your team views you as approachable and enthusiastic about the ways you can help and contribute to the team.
Here’s an example new manager introduction email to team you can copy and alter to fit your position:
I just wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself.
My name is [insert first and last name], and I’ll be your new manager.
It’s a pleasure to join [organization name], and I very much look forward to working together with all of you.
Before coming to [organization name], my background involved [describe the field you worked in and the position you held in your last company].
I look forward to my new position here where my responsibilities will involve [describe your position and responsibilities in the new company] and I’m quite excited to get started with these new challenges and get to know you better.
I’ll be setting up in my office starting on [insert day and date], and I’ll be happy to meet you if anyone’s interested to stop by and say hello.
Happy to be on board!
[insert first name]
As you can see, it’s a brief and friendly email with some basic information about yourself, your professional background, and your future responsibilities. As an alternative, you can turn this email into a “taking over a new team” speech – if you prefer face-to-face interactions from the get-go.
In any case, you can leave any official announcements for later correspondence.
Tip #2 – Arrange one-on-one meetings 🤝
Wondering how do you integrate a new team?
Well, you need to hold one-on-one meetings with each team member first.
After all, there may not be “I” in teamwork, but teams still consist of individuals who have their own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.
And, learning something about them will help you make the most of your team on the whole.
So, here are some good motivation questions for employees you can ask in your one-on-one meetings:
🔹 What do you like to work on?
🔹 What do you find to be your strengths?
🔹 What are your career goals?
These brief discussions will tell you something about your team’s goals and priorities.
You’ll get a better picture of what the people in your team like to work on and what they dislike, as well as what their strengths are – all valuable information for when you’re struggling with what tasks to delegate to whom.
You’ll also need to make sure that the team members you’re conducting these one-on-one meetings with feel equally appreciated and vital to the team – so, try not to spend 15 minutes listening to your UI designer’s ideas and 45 minute listening to your front-end developer’s ideas, if you want to harbor equality and a good team culture.
To ensure that you give enough time to everyone in your team, you can track the exact time you spend on all meetings.
You can even make it your goal to finish each meeting within a preset time period, say 30 minutes. This way, you’ll stick to a routine and make the meetings quick and efficient.
Tip #3 – Decide how to give feedback, recognition, and praise 🙌
Feedback, recognition, and praise are important in a team – they provide motivation to help them keep going, as well as help them understand and work on their weak areas.
When it comes to how you’ll give feedback, praise, and recognition, you can cover this during your one-on-one meetings, or even your first group meeting – simply ask:
🔹 How do you like to receive feedback?
🔹 How do you like to give feedback?
🔹 How do you like to receive recognition and praise?
You can then lay out some ground rules and make the decision based on their answers.
You may hear that people like to receive feedback via chat, email, or in-person.
Some may like to receive feedback as it happens, and some prefer brief one-on-one meetings for the purpose.
As for the manner in which you’ll give feedback, you can:
- Provide 5-word performance reviews on a regular basis – the limit in the number of words will make your reviews honest, meaningful, as well as precise.
- Provide feedforward – the focus of this method developed by Joe Hirsch is on potential development in the future, not the mistakes made in the past.
As for the manner in which you’ll give praise and recognition, it’s best that you do it publically – simply, provide a few words of praise to team members during daily meetings, or highlight when someone plays a critical role in the project that week.
Everyone likes to be appreciated, and they’ll, in turn, appreciate it if you give out recognition in front of their peers. Plus, they’ll then be motivated to pursue the same quality of work in the future.
Tip #4 – Be clear about the expected workflow 🎯
This should go without saying for all team managers, not just those who are starting off with a new team – but, it’s even more important to clarify how you’ll be managing your team and what you’ll expect from the beginning:
- Define the team’s goals from the start.
- Be clear about the expected deadlines, the regularity of progress reports, as well as your other requirements and expectations.
- Be clear about how much and whether deadlines can be extended.
- Be clear about who in the team is responsible for what.
In the beginning, it’s also best if you “over-communicate” project details:
- Provide more structure.
- Provide more explanations and guidelines.
- Instigate more one-on-one meetings.
- Be open to making further clarifications.
If you check-in on everyone’s progress more often at the beginning of the project, you’ll make sure the project is heading in the right direction.
Tip #5 – Define a team credo 📜
A team credo serves as a set of values and beliefs your team drives on – in a sense, it’s like a motto meant to motivate and inspire the team to perform their best work.
When creating a team credo, make sure you:
- Use clear, simple, and concise language
- Use short sentences
- Use powerful, actionable words
You can even find inspiration for your credo in the popular, motivational quotes already in existence:
“Strive for excellence, not perfection”– Joyce Meyer
Great for: Teams who have a lot of projects to churn out in a short time period.
“When nothing goes right, go left” – Unknown
Great for: Teams who favor an innovative approach.
“Professionalism always wins”– Unknown
Great for: Any team looking to succeed in business.
You can also ask your team to suggest a team credo on your first group meeting – you can then print out the chosen motto and hang it in the conference room, for inspiration and further motivation.
Tip #6 – Remain involved 📝
So, you’ve come to meet your team, understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the ways they like to receive praise and feedback – you know how they tick.
In turn, they’ve come to know you, and what you expect – they know their responsibilities and the goals you’re all working to achieve.
You even have a team motto to help keep you going when times get tough.
The next and decisive step is to remain involved and open to potential problems.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should micromanage your team – just make sure they can reach out to you if they have a problem:
- Organize daily meetings to keep up to date
- Answer their emails and chat messages
- Be open for any additional one-on-one meetings they suggest
You can even keep the door of your office open to signal how open you are to participate and actually manage the team you were assigned with.
Getting to know a group a people and then figuring out the best ways to manage them shouldn’t be a herculean task – to do it right, you just need to:
- Send a brief and friendly introductory email – to start off right with the team
- Arrange one-on-one meetings – to get the know how the individuals can help the team
- Decide how to give feedback, recognition, and praise – to make sure you motivate the employees to deliver quality work in the future
- Be clear about the expected workflow – to make sure people know the team’s goals and expectations
- Define a team credo – to inspire a good team spirit
- Remain involved – to make sure your plan goes as planned
If you do all that, you’ll be on the best possible road to build and maintain an accountable, happy, and efficient new team.
Clockify pro tip
For more about team management, check out our other team management guides: