As with any change, expectations need to be set up at the beginning of the transition period to avoid unnecessary surprises (read: issues). This is what I did today in my first meeting with my new team. These expectations, of course, work both ways, so I wanted the team to know what they can expect from me and what I expect from them going forward.
First and foremost, what I expect from the team is open communication. If they have a situation or an issue that they are unsure about, I want them to feel comfortable in coming to me. If I don’t know about it, I can’t support them or begin to help them fix it.
Of course we also had to go over some administrative expectations, such as work schedules and paperwork. While I do not want to micromanage the team and their schedules, we do work onsite with our client and are expected to perform a service. If people are not there, it makes it harder or impossible to complete our work. This goes back to communication though. I am flexible and willing to work with the team when their schedules need to be adjusted, but I need to be aware of it so that I can support them in finding a backup and providing our client with reasoning when asked where people are.
I also let the team know what they can expect from me. Their previous employer did not support or engage with them individually or as a team. My goal is to change that. I have a lot of work to do in building trust and a team mentality with this group. Initially, I will not be sitting directly with the team, but I let them know that I will be over there a lot just to say hi and see how things are going. I think it’s so important for me to show my face so that they can actually see that I am around and available to talk to them whenever.
In addition, we will have weekly team meetings, which will be informal at first as the team gets to know each other and the roles they perform. Once our meetings have become more established, we will more often than not have set agendas for the meetings to discuss any projects, changes, announcements that need to be discussed.
On an individual level, I want to get to know everyone better. Everyone on the team can expect to have one to one sessions with me every two weeks. These meetings can be as brief or as in depth as they want, but I would like to have a consistent means of ensuring that my employee’s needs are being met and that I am aware of what they are currently working on.
I hope these initial steps of setting expectations and providing various avenues of engagement will help the team with the change in leadership.
What are some expectations you have set with your team? What are some expectations you have set for your leader?