This is a funny cartoon but I have actually had managers and supervisors tell me this over the years. “It’s not my fault I have a dysfunctional team, I inherited all these losers”. We rarely have the opportunity to come in to a new position and start from scratch building the perfect team. Generally, there are people already in place sitting there with bright shiny faces ready to take on the new boss.
There is anticipation and trepidation on both sides. Employees are wondering what the new person is going to be like. Will he/she want to clean house and bring in their own people? I wonder what he/she has been told about me? The new manager has issues too. Are they following someone who everyone loved and who did a terrific job? That can be difficult for sure. It’s much easier if you are following a “screw up” or someone who was a tyrant but it, too, has its challenges.
The best thing a new manager can do is have a staff meeting (feed them!) and introduce yourself to the staff, giving them a flavor for who you are and what your expectations are. Tell them you want to get to know each of them and will be setting time aside to meet with them individually. Explain a little about your management style. Of course, in the beginning you will be learning and monitoring what they are doing more closely and as they earn your trust, you will back off. If there are some MUST DO’s, let them know what those are up front. If you want to review an e-mail before they send it company wide, let them know that. You will learn quickly whose work needs more review. Try to start out with an open mind in spite of what you may have been told about an employee.
How can following a bad act be a challenge? If the group was not properly supervised, they are probably not operating as a team but rather are in individual survival mode. They worked in spite of the situation. Your challenge will be to get them out of that mode and into a “trust mode” and bond them as a team. As you go forward, you will have time to evaluate each employee and counsel where needed. Supervising people is never easy but that’s why they pay you the big bucks!