How careful and thoughtful one should be when taking over a team for the first time?
Simple answer is plenty.
The level of thinking needs to be much greater if the manager comes from an individual contributor background previously.
While every manager wants to stamp their authority and mark in the team they need to be very careful in the manner they go about it. Initial interactions are the most critical. If you mess it up initially it is indeed an uphill task recover from that point onwards.
One needs to be extremely careful in understanding the EXISTING team dynamics prior to making any changes necessary. While changes could be an absolute must in line with new leadership thinking, one needs to get their subordinates buy in to that thinking. A subscribed approach is always good if there are strong existing team dynamics while prescribe or stick approach is also appropriate if the leader has clear set of deliverables. Eitherway communication and regular communication becomes paramount in that regard.
Even with the stick approach it is advisable that the leader depending on the capacity should have one to one chats with the subordinates where (s)he should understand there expectations out of him and also his expectations for each individual. Many forget to spend quality time in this regard and most of the time those who do it fail to do it sincerely.
It's paramount that one understands that a leader's success is as good as the success of his/her team!
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