Building on my last blog about making sure your induction is as good as it can be, I now want to focus on internal moves. It occurred to me that this is something that is not given very much by organisations or individuals for that matter, but still, the matters of induction and ‘settling in’ are important. Remember Tuckman’s model of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing…any change to team members effectively results in a new team and brings a fresh set of challenges.
A friend of mine recently had a few new team members as a result of internal re-organisation. He was frustrated after a few weeks when people were not behaving as he would expect them to. They were in the same role as the previous team members with very similar levels of experience, but had come from other locations. I asked if he had sat down with them and explained what is expected. “No” he said, “they should know, they’ve been doing this job for a while”.
“Yes” I said “but they’ve been doing it in a different centre for a different manager”. OK the technical aspects of the job are the same, but ‘the way we do things round here’ is different in every single workplace. It reminded me of a brilliant activity that I was told about years ago. A must for all new managers, or existing managers with new/.changed teams.
Organise a meeting with the new team and ask them what they want from you. Write it all down on a flipchart or whiteboard. Generally, people are quite reasonable in their expectations. When their full wish list is written for all to see, address each point in turn. Aim wherever possible to respond to each statement by saying “I will do that IF…” or “I will do that WHEN….” This provides an excellent opportunity for you to outline your expectations of them.
So if the team say “We don’t want to have work late” you respond by saying “I will never ask you to work late IF we have achieved our objectives for the day”. If the team say “We want to have feedback on how we are doing”, you say “I will do that if you agree to a 20 minute meeting each month”, and so on.
Depending on the maturity of the team, it can be challenging to generate an open and frank discussion, so follow the principles of effective meetings, and make sure that you start off on the right foot with your team.