May 15, 2018

3 tips to improve performance in a newly inherited team


Congratulations! You’ve got that promotion you were after, and you’ve just inherited your new team. But, a few days in, you realise that they’re not performing as well as you’d like. It’s a common dilemma – you want to be able to produce results fast to show the rest of the company that you’re the right person for the job. However, you also don’t want to be too heavy handed with people who barely know you.

So, how do you improve performance in your newly inherited team?

1) Acknowledge the problem and set expectations

Your team might suspect that things aren’t going as well as they should be, but they may not realise the extent of the problem unless you acknowledge it first. So it’s important you take the time to explain the situation and why there needs to be a change. After all, Gallup reports that managers who regularly communicate with their employees find their teams are three times more engaged than those who don’t communicate.

Once you’ve acknowledged the problem, set clear expectations for where you want the team to be at given points on a timeline. Don’t limit these goals by the team’s current performance, but instead by what they need to do to make a positive contribution to the company.

Then, sit down with each team member and discuss what has to be done to achieve this common goal. Have one-on-ones with both high and low performers. Find out what’s making the high performers succeed and what’s stopping the under-performers. Again, acknowledging that they’re not achieving is essential. Some may even realise that the job’s not for them and look elsewhere, while others will hopefully be galvanized by the challenge and step up to the plate.

The first step to improving performance should be acknowledging there's a problem in the first place.
The first step to improving performance should be acknowledging there’s a problem in the first place.




2) Use data

No doubt the team you inherit will have KPIs and other targets they need to meet. Accessing this data and finding areas where people aren’t doing so well will help you to pinpoint what they can do to improve. Showing your team the data will also help them to understand why a change is needed.


Using KPI data will help you to identify areas that the team needs to improve.
Using hard data will mean you can identify exactly where employees need help improving.

3) Don’t judge anyone too quickly

Don’t assume that underperforming team members aren’t capable or motivated. When you inherit a team there could be any number of reasons why they’re not achieving, and it’s your duty as a new manager to find these reasons out. Using data and taking the time to get to know each individual is essential to this.

That said, if someone really isn’t cut out for the job, it’s important you make those hard decisions. You want to see success as a new manager, and the employee in question will probably find they are happier elsewhere.

Have you successfully managed a variety of teams? Are you ready to step up to the C-suite? Contact the executive recruitment specialists at JacksonStone to find out about new opportunities in businesses across New Zealand.