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The Guide to taking over from an inept Team Leader…

You have been given the exciting opportunity of a new role and a new team to manage; however, you know that the previous manager was not the best leader to say the least…  You are left with a team who are in disarray and an underachievement of goals and missions.  So how do you address this issue with effectiveness and restore your team’s moral?

This is a common occurrence in the workplace, as if someone has not left a position through their own choice, then it means they have been dismissed due to their underachievement or incapability.  It is over to you to restore order and success!  The Harvard Business Review Blog took a look at this issue and highlighted the key steps to follow when overcoming this situation…

  • Talk to your team, ensure they are aware that you know their previous manager was inept and the effect this may have had on them.  Do not use this as a way to openly criticise the previous manager, but instead build up an honest appreciation of the challenges they faced.
  • Take time to fully understand the challenges and concerns your team had.  This will ensure you have a clear picture of the working environment they experienced and what issues need to be addressed to counter-balance this.
  • Appreciate that team members may be resistant to change straight away.  Previously they may have received an array of mixed messages as to what was expected of them and the organisation as a whole, therefore, they may be wary of new changes and how this will affect them.
  • Do not make drastic, quick judgements on your team’s performance or their ability to do their roles; their previous leader may have had a detrimental, negative impact on their competency and standard of work.
  • Always make it clear what you are doing and why you are doing it to reduce uncertainty and also to make sure your team understands the direction you want them to head in.

It is evident that the key to addressing a demoralised team is patience and an open and sincere approach to ensure motivation is increased.  However, do you think these steps would work in every situation?  Is taking over from an incompetent manager a ‘one size fits all’ approach?  Let us know your recipe to succeed in this situation!

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