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6 Ways To Successfully Join and Lead A New Team

1776 co-founder Donna Harris knows how to stand out.

1776 co-founder Donna Harris knows how to lead and how to stand out.

Stepping in as the leader of an existing team should be approached with sensitivity and patience, especially when you are new to the company and the team.  Two years ago, I went through this very experience when I was hired by Lab42’s Board of Directors and co-founders to lead the one-year-old company. Although the transition had its rocky moments, for the most part it was a smooth one, largely due to the attitude and support of the co-founders.

  • Avoid coming in with a pre-conceived plan. Chances are you’re being hired to fill a void and address current challenges that have been highlighted to you. Do not make the mistake of coming to the table with a pre-determined plan based on these challenges. There are other ways to prove yourself and the value you bring to the table right off the bat. Take the time to learn the challenges and the extent of them for yourself. To do so, encourage your team to be completely open with you. In the process, you’ll earn their trust and get to know them on a personal level.
  • Become a sponge. Before you can formulate the correct course of action, you’ll need to learn all aspects of the business quickly. Sit in on as many calls and meetings as you can, and don’t be shy about doing so. Make sure that the team understands that you’re doing it for learning purposes only, so your actions aren’t misconstrued as micromanaging.
  • Don’t make changes before you have had time to notice patterns. Give yourself time to notice patterns, and ensure that the changes you make address real problems and not one-off happenings. Making too many changes too quickly, especially when it comes to making cuts, may scare the strong players away and lead your team being guarded with you. It is important that they are open with you so that you make informed decisions. Moreover, ensure that key stakeholders who brought you on board are aware of your approach.

Read the other three at


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This entry was posted on September 20, 2013 by in Career and tagged , , , , , , .
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