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Just got promoted? Understand the new Team Dynamics

So, you’ve got your promotion. Congratulations! But you’re filled with trepidation because… well, the new promotion means new responsibilities which are outside your comfort zone and that requires learning new things. That sound about right?


The one area that most first-time managers struggle with, is understanding team dynamics. If you’re a first-time manager, here’s my take on it:


1) Just because you have the title, doesn’t mean you have the respect. The most common mistake first-time managers make is assuming that the new title and the new salary automatically entitles them to the respect of their colleagues and team. Nothing can be further from the truth. Respect has to be earned by showing your team and colleagues that you mean business and that you’re not afraid of getting into the trenches with them and getting the job done.


2) Understand the life-cycle of a team. Whether a new or existing team, it will find itself in one of these four phases.

a. Form: when the team is first put together, everyone is on their best behavior as they learn and study the personalities of others in the team. A team can get into the forming stage even when new people join it.

b. Storm: After some time, team members begin to stake their place in the team. Team members rub others the wrong way. There is friction and bruised egos.

c. Norm: After the initial upheaval that the storming phase brings, people begin to settle down and settle into their places. They begin to work together and the team begins to function at a higher pace than before.

d. Perform: Finally, the team is fully on track and each person is contributing towards the overall team goal. This is when the team begins to perform well. It is this stage that most managers aspire to reach.

It is important you recognize which stage your team is in and help them move out of that phase into the next one until they are able to perform optimally as a team.


3) Trust your team. Another critical aspect for first-time managers is to learn to let go and let your team handle their projects. Most first-time managers were high performers who are used to working hard and fast. Once you become a manager, you cannot expect everybody to be like you. It is important that you train yourself to trust your team and empower them to deliver. A manager who constantly criticizes or looks over the shoulders of his team is a manager who is not working with his/her team but rather against it.

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