Taking charge of an existing team
Taking charge of an existing team
Here we outline some teamwork tips for anyone taking over an existing team or reforming one that is in transition.
In team building techniques we offered some advice on how to start a brand new team. However, many managers won’t have that luxury. In reality we are often tasked with taking over an existing team, or perhaps assuming leadership of a team which exists but is undergoing change. There are some similarities between starting new teams and taking over those that already exist. But there are also some important differences.
Whilst every team and context is different a few important teamwork tips can provide a basis on which to develop your approach to taking over an existing team. Especially if you read it alongside team building techniques for taking over a new team.
This article is part of our stages of team development series based on the STAR team model.
Whilst every team and context is different, these team building techniques will provide a basis on which to develop your approach to starting-up a team. The STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four elements (Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment and Results) are in place:
A different emphasis and focus for each of the STAR model elements is needed at different stages of the team’s development. Taking responsibility for an existing team is complicated by the fact that the team could be at any of the team development stages, or possibly stuck in one of the problematic phases.
Taking charge of an existing team often means that the team needs to re-establish its focus. This could be for a number of reasons, such as:
You will often need to make an assessment of the various elements of the STAR model for example:
It may be that the team is stuck in one of the negative positions of team development. Think about which team development stage is currently at. You can find out more about some of the negative phases associated with teams and some teamwork tips to address them in our articles:
There may also be conflict issues and individual agendas causing problems, so it is worth taking the time to find out as much as possible about the team you’re taking over. Although the advice offered in ‘team building techniques‘ is mainly about new teams, some is still relevant here. For example, stating a clear purpose and clarifying the results expected of either team will help to galvanize action and enhance team bonding. And a re-appraisal of individual strengths and how they compliment each other might be the answer to any existing performance problems.
There will be much to do if you are taking over an existing team. Perhaps the most important teamwork tips are to:
To read more of about our teamwork concept – the STAR team model- see our articles teamwork theories, teamwork defined and teamwork in the workplace. For a more general introduction to team leadership, a good place to start might be to think through why is teamwork important, or you may want to think about how you define teamwork or reminding yourself of the benefits of teamwork.
If you want to put our teamwork concepts into action, you’ll find more information and a wealth of practical resources, in our colossal Team Building Bundle.
Containing 240 pages and 50 tools, these are the 8 key guides we recommend to help you do more than define teamwork, build it!
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