Managing inherited teams can be tough, particularly if you inherit under performing employees. On occasion new managers are brought in to implement structure and even encourage attrition. Oftentimes managers are hired to work within existing structures. This can be a bit unnerving for the manager who discovers that the organization lacks appropriately skilled employees or even a basic performance management system. You need to meet with your supervisor given that leadership is the single most important driver of organizational performance. Be clear about how you are expected to approach your work.

Understand the Constraints and Propose a Plan

If you need to work through this type of situation, begin by drafting an outline of your preferred approach and meet with your leadership to discuss. You’ll better understand your goals in relation to the performance of your team’s performance and how performance is managed throughout the organization. You can also use this time to discover the constraints you’ll need to work within as well as identify support mechanisms that you can leverage. Once you’ve met with your leadership and you’ve agreed on how you will approach your managing your new team you can have individual and group conversations with employees.

Partner with Your Leadership  Manage

Understand your leadership’s goals and the extent to which they will empower you to implement the changes necessary to improve performance. Your effectiveness will be directly impacted by your leadership so the sooner you understand how their role correlates to yours; the sooner you can begin the work necessary to move the team forward.

One of your goals should be to strive to create an environment in which employees can achieve superior performance. Use this as the basis for your actions. Your effectiveness will be impacted by how employees were managed in the past so have conversations to understand how work gets accomplished independently and together. Learn about the people and the processes. Do your homework to understand history but keep it in perspective and be forward-thinking about the team and what can be accomplished.

Strive to create an environment in which employees can flourish.

You may discover that you have inherited an employee who has been mismanaged in the past to the extent that organization has taken a hands-off approach in fear of the employee taking legal action. In these types of situations it is critical that you understand exactly what’s transpired including any mistakes made by management or others. Without this information you could potentially worsen an already fragile situation.

Managing the performance of employees who have experienced mismanagement can be challenging but it’s not impossible. One aspect of true progress will involve being consistent with employees and providing the clarity they need about their duties and your expectations. This combined with frequent two way communication can better position the employee to contribute and for you to set the appropriate tone for the team and move the group forward.

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