We get the call often, from clients and would-be clients. “How do I successfully launch this team?” they ask us. “I’m transitioning to a new role, with a team full of people I don’t know, or don’t know well,” they tell us. “How do I get that going successfully?”

We get the call often because starting with a new team, and especially leading a new team, is difficult. Nearly every time a team gets a new member, progress can stall. The team generally heads back into the less enjoyable (and productive) stages of Tuckman’s stages of team development – Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing – and members find themselves in the polite but ineffective Forming phase, as everyone gets to know and understand (and understand how to work with) the new member(s), or the painful, awkward, and often least effective Storming phase, as everyone pushes for their agenda and point of view.

So what can you do when you’re asked to lead a new team, or when your team is told to work with a new leader? You can take a pause and work through our New Leader Assimilation process, and fast-forward the learning and effectiveness.

The New Leader Assimilation process sets up time, and space, for leaders to learn about team members, and team members to learn about leaders. With guidance and facilitation, leaders share with their teams their background, experience, style, passions, expectations, etc., and team members find a platform to share their perspectives and ask any questions. This slower motion route actually accelerates learning and integration because information is shared – safely shared. Fewer stories are created because there’s more transparency and less need to guess what people want and mean.

Any time we can lessen misunderstandings and misinterpretations, we can be more successful working with others. And we can enjoy the process more as well. By making the time to clarify needs and expectations, guidelines and rules, and preferences and behaviors as a team gets launched, or launched with a new leader, we fast track the process teams go through as they (try to) move forward together.

How have you successfully stepped into leading a team?
Please let us know, so we all can learn.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in your next transition, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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