You’re new … so what next?
Managing a new team can be a really exciting prospect. You’ve probably got heaps of ideas that you can’t wait to put into action and no doubt you’re really keen to get your team members on board with this vision too.
It can also be a potentially daunting and awkward time too, especially if one of your new staff also applied for the role and lost out! Or whether you have big boots to fill from the last manager.
Getting off to a good start with your team can make a lot of difference to make sure employee engagement stays high, but it can be hard to know which line to tread as a new manager.
Get to know your team
Much as you may be itching to start putting your plans into action, diving straight in could be a bad move for employee engagement levels. You don’t want to risk alienating your staff right at the start as this can mean they’re not invested in their work or the company in general.
A better approach is to spend the first week or so solely on getting to know your team and building a good understanding of how they see themselves within the business.
Listen listen listen!
Talk to them about their role and ask about what they like about it, the challenges they face and if there are any areas where the company can help them to feel happier in their days. This can bring up issues that might be stopping them from being more invested in their work which you can then address.
Making it clear that you really value their thoughts and feedback can help them to feel involved in your plans.
If your staff feel that they can come to you with any problems or issues they have in their role, they’re more likely to be engaged in their work and with the company in general.
A key way to do this is to remove any obvious barriers between you and your team. Let them know you have an “open door” policy and literally keep your office door open as much as you can. When the door is open, staff know that you’re available to them if they need it.
Keep strong lines of communication
As well as being approachable, good communication with your team is another way to boost employee engagement.
Regular staff meetings and private chats with your staff are a great way to keep them in the loop about how their work is having a positive impact for the business. This helps them to feel valued and recognised – both of which are so important for engaged employees!
People love to feel recognised and appreciated for their work so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the key parts of employee engagement.
Give some of your team authority where appropriate
You may be the overall manager of your team but your new status means your staff may know more about the company than you do at this stage.
Taking advantage of this is a good move for your department in general and can also be really important for employee engagement.
Don’t be afraid to give key members of your team a bit of authority on projects and help them to feel more involved.
What if any of your team wanted your job?
If you know that at least one member of your new team applied for your role but didn’t get it, the last thing you want is for it turn into the elephant in the room!
Sitting down with them for a private chat about it should be one of your first moves so you can focus on building a positive relationship.
It’s definitely not going to be the most comfortable conversations you’ve ever had but it can help to avoid any lingering resentment that could affect how engaged the employee in question is.
Start off by acknowledging that you realise how disappointed they were not to be chosen but you hope you can work really well together. Asking for their thoughts on how you can improve things for your team makes it obvious that you value their input.
If they were an existing employee prior to this, thank them for their contribution and hard work to date.
As a new team manager, it’s not as challenging as you might think to help your staff to be more engaged, even if some of them were keen on your job in the first place!