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“You’re New. You Can’t Tell Me What To Do!”

Said the snappy senior staff member to his vulnerable new manager.

It’s important to talk about the lessons they don’t teach you in your starter pack. The lessons you would otherwise learn the hard way or through analysing the struggles of others.

So you’ve inherited a team in a new environment. What should or shouldn’t you do to hit the ground running and get your new team giving their all for you immediately.


Lesson 1: Don’t go Gung-Ho – Meaning going in all guns blazing, enforcing new rules with a management style uncalibrated to the members of your new team. To quickly sum this up – think about what parents do before giving their child to a babysitter. They go through with the babysitter everything the child likes, dislikes and responds to, to ensure the titanic doesn’t hit the iceberg but if it does, they’ve already been learned how to fix the ship. Lesson 5 will expand on this.

Lesson 2: Prejudgement – In most cases it’s human nature to prejudge based on past experiences. The perception is that it fast tracks the process of getting to know someone if you already have it in your mind that said person is the type to respond to A B and C but react negatively to the rest of the alphabet. That’s cheating. Despite that fact, your prejudgement of someone’s character could be right, which would lead to you effectively managing that person if you use that knowledge properly, however there is a lot of risk involved with this approach that could have a knock on effect on the rest of the team.

Lesson 3: L&D – this is all about how to train your dragon. Should you take a hands on or hands off approach to management? Factors such as footfall, quantity of staff and staff turnover frequency can sometimes dictate this. Investing your time into developing your team is definitely beneficial on the surface, but in reality if you’re working in a store with a high staff turnover then spending a lot of time developing individuals amounts to a lot of time wasted when their leaving drinks is next week. A wise man JUST said…

“Be strict and efficient, do things different.”

Lesson 4: Assessment – Give yourself a chance to see every team member in action before imposing your own actions on them. You’ll never get to know an individual completely off the back of one shift because in reality there are too many variables that can impact their performance on the day, however it will help to have a visual of the team to link back to lesson 5 – History..

Lesson 5: History – Would you walk into a war zone without knowing where the threats are and scanning for landmines? Maybe you would if you’re a gung-ho pro. On the other hand there are some easy questions you could even ask at the end of your interview to ease you into the task at hand:

• What is the team’s motivation like at the moment?

• What has been the biggest challenge for the team in the last 6 months?

• Why do staff members usually leave the company?

• How frequently do staff members leave the company?

I’m not suggesting you ask ALL of these questions. It’s not an interrogation, it is a few ideas on how to gauge the current climate in store.

the tools

Taking everything into consideration you may not need to do some of these things. Drastic change isn’t required if the ship is already sailing in the right direction. Just pick up where the last captain walked the plank (then swam to another boat). At least you can be equipped with the tools to spot and fix any flaws in the store.

What worked for you in your new job?

How would you advise someone inheriting a new team in a new environment?

Let’s discuss.

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