Dave Kellogg has written a solid article about the 90-day rule and leadership. This is the rule where it takes 90 days for the team you’re leading to become your team. As a new team leader, it can take some time to get used to your team and to figure out who the great team members are and who are the ones that need some mentoring, coaching or training.
In project management, they talk about forming, storming and norming your team. Within 90 days, your team will pass through each of those stages. Initially, the team forms. Then, there is some storming and conflict that is resolved to build up a better functioning team. Finally, with your leadership, the team is in the norming stage where everyone works well together.
Leadership is Investing Your Time Understanding Your Team
Kellogg has great tips on how to handle this situation, where you have inherited a team and are expected to lead them:
Invest a lot of your early time in understanding your team. Their strengths and their weaknesses. What their internal customers think of them. What you think of their work. What coworkers think. Understand their backgrounds, interview them, and go review their LinkedIn profiles or CVs.
He suggests that team leaders understand the personal wants and needs of their team. As a result, you become a more effective leader because you are using empathy to relate with your team. Also it can lead to your becoming a better coach and mentor, because you understand what they’re looking for in a career:
Remember that it’s about personal wants and needs. Where do your team members want to be in a few years? Do they see a way to get there from here at your company? Are they happy with short-term constraints or are they struggling to get out of meetings in time to hit childcare before those draconian fines kick in?