How do you begin leading teams that you just inherited?

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Mar 6, 2024

The First Step in Leading Teams

So, you've found yourself in that position - promoted, given a leadership role, or perhaps 'voluntold' to take on more responsibility - and amidst all of that, you've 'inherited a team'.

Leading teams is no walk in the park, especially when they are inherited. It's one of the toughest gigs for a front-line leader or manager, and it's far more common than the chance to build a new one.

Whether you're leading teams of 2 or 10+ employees, each member comes with their own unique set of concerns:

  • varying levels of experience,
  • constant reassurance needs,
  • respect issues,
  • personal problems,
  • looming retirements,
  • complacency,
  • task-performance struggles,
  • team politics,
  • the awkwardness of transitioning from peer to leader overnight, and
  • much more.

Now, you're faced with managing this 'new' team amidst all these diverse obstacles.

But here's a surprise for you. The first step?

Get to know yourself better.

That's right – work on yourself as a leader first.

Establishing yourself as a credible leader positions you to address your team's concerns effectively and sustainably. Regardless of your experience, you're the newbie here and on a lifelong learning curve.

Be a Person of Character and Build Trust

You might hold the title of the most experienced supervisor or the most competent expert in your field, but if your character doesn’t align with your words, your success in leading teams will hinge solely on your position. And let’s face it – that’s not a smooth road to travel.

As a leader, who you are matters far more than your technical prowess when influencing others and mastering the art of task completion. People rally behind leaders who consistently embody the principles they advocate.

How effectively do you communicate and exemplify what’s truly important?

Let’s explore a checklist to gauge your alignment. Be honest with yourself as you consider the following:

☐ Honesty/Integrity (Do you practice what you preach?)
☐ Fairness (Are your standards consistently applied?)
☐ Learning from Mistakes (Do you embrace your humanity and grow from errors?)
☐ Continuous Improvement (Are you receptive to new ideas and innovations?)
☐ Valuing the Input of Others (Do you actively listen for fresh perspectives?)
☐ Valuing People as Individuals (Do you encourage diverse contributions?)
☐ Listening to Connect (Do you engage in genuine dialogue, not just listen to hear or respond?)
Energy and Work Ethic (How do you show up?)
☐ Persistence (Do you persevere regardless of challenges or opposition?)
☐ Resilience (Can you cope with stress and adapt with mental agility?)

Essentially, do you ‘walk the talk and talk the walk’?
How many can you tick?

But, How?

Let us share with you an excellent formula we stumbled upon that holds the key to helping you towards positive change:

ability + commitment + action = results

You possess the ability, so now it's time to harness it.

Take a moment to reflect on the areas outlined earlier and consider where you'd like to initiate change. Is it in fostering fairness? Or in valuing the contributions of your team members?

Divide your aspirations into two categories: Commitment and Action.

Under Commitment:

  • Jot down the tasks, ideas, or engagements you're dedicated to pursuing.
    What steps will you take to manifest these intentions?

Under Action:

  • Identify who can assist you along your journey and establish deadlines for completion.
    Who in your network can provide support or guidance? When will you take these steps?
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Now, pause and ask yourself:

Is there anything stopping me from accomplishing these actions?

If the answer is no, it's time to embark on your journey to know yourself better.
Take that first step, and watch as the path to success unfolds.

How else can you deepen your understanding of yourself?

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) emerge as pivotal areas for self-development and are essential skills for the modern leader.

EQ offers insights into self-regulation, while C-IQ equips you with the tools to co-regulate within your interactions.

For more information on EQ, C-IQ, leading teams, leadership skills and learning more about yourself, feel free to tap into our Knowledge Hub and listen to the following podcasts:

  • E029 - How Important are Personality Diversity Tools in Learning about Yourself?
  • E038 to E043 - Our C-IQ Series
  • E045 & E046 - Our 2-part Series on Leadership in High-Risk Industries
  • E062 - What is your experience with leadership promotion? What help did you receive?
  • E063 - Boosting Supervisors: 8 Tips to Better Understand Yourself, Others and Create Inclusion

Ready to find out more?

Connect with us to explore these areas further and unlock your true potential. We are here to guide you on your journey of growth.

** Karin is a certified C-IQ Coach and EQ-i2.0 qualified assessor.