Taking on an established team is a testing experience. While you share the learning process with a team in a start-up situation, a take-over demands immediate evidence of your ability to take charge and recognize team strengths.

Becoming Team Leader

When a leader joins an existing team, caution and doubt co-exist with hope and interest on both sides. Try to make a favorable, positive first impression. Much may depend on the previous leader’s standing and the cause of the change. If the team you have inherited has done well under good, strong leadership, recognize that – if not, presume that the members hunger for reform. Even if your predecessor was disliked and regarded as incompetent, or if the team is failing, never dwell negatively on past faults or poor performance. Demonstrate trust, promote team togetherness, and appear quietly confident. Insist on producing a competitive performance, achieved with the full support of the tem.

Talking To A New Team

Find out about your team’s background, purpose, progress, and membership before you meet them. Other people’s input can be valuable at this stage, but trust your own judgment as you start to form an opinion of the team’s abilities. Remember that your best chance to observe the team will come only once you have taken charge. Soon after taking on the team, set aside time to talk to each member, one on one, about their individual tasks, and the project as a whole, their views of their own performance, whether they favor any changes in working practice, and, if so, why. From their ideas, you will gain a clear insight into each individual’s character, motivation, and abilities. Avoid asking individuals to assess their colleagues – it is up to you to form your own opinion.

Introducing a new team member

When old team members are replaced by new staff, encourage and welcome the opportunity for new ideas and approaches, rather than expecting them to follow previous ways of working. Never just leave new members to make their own introductions and find their own way around the team; instead, ensure that each new member has a “minder” to plot them through their early weeks. As the first opportunity, for instance, at a team meeting, introduce new members to the group and ask the newcomers to say a few words about themselves – but prepare them beforehand.

Things to Do

  1. Socialize with the team as often as you can to know people better – and become better known yourself.
  2. Shoe you appreciate the skills of the team to prevent any resentment.
  3. Actively show your willingness to listen to team members.
  4. Show your authority from the outset with confidence – otherwise you may find yourself being undermined.


  1. Show your team who is in charge by being assertive, but not aggressive.
  2. Think of ways o make an instant good impression on a new team – but without being over-eager.
  3. If you ask people for their advice, be prepared not only to welcome it, but also to act on it.


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