Job Doc

I recently became a manager of a new team. However, the previous manager didn’t leave any notes about the team, and I want to make sure I successful integrate with them. Is there anything I should be doing? Elaine Varelas advises

Becoming the manager of an established team can feel a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know much about them. Elaine Varelas advises on how to successfully manage and work with your new team.

Ask the Job Doc.

Q: I’m a new manager of a team. When the previous manager left, they didn’t have many notes about the team, their progress, or any issues they may have been having. What can I do to ensure a solid launch into my role with the team when I don’t have a lot of information about them?

A: As a new manager, you actually might be better off without lots of information from the previous manager. Everyone has different styles, different methods of working, and different management issues that drive them. Not having the previous manager’s impressions on their individual staff members and team allows you to give everyone a clean slate.


One way you can find out more about your team is to meet with them individually. Many new managers are focused on their ability to good a job, when a great manager should be focused on helping their direct reports excel. Take the time to meet each of your team members one on one, ask them genuine questions about their job, what gives them pride about their work, and what it will take to get the best from them. Additionally, ask them about the challenges and obstacles they face and how you can possibly alleviate some of those issues. This is a subtle way to ask them how they best like to be managed and it will only help you shape yourself around your new team and their collective needs.

After you focus on them individually, turn your attention on the team. What works for the team? What doesn’t? Ask the same questions – what obstacles and challenges does the team face? Does the team feel like a team at all, or do they feel like a group of individual contributors? You might consider that if they acted as a team, then the productivity would increase, and individual issues would decrease. There are great assessment materials that can get individual and team data which can be a fun way to build team morale. One that is used frequently is Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). For this, employees need to know that there is no right or wrong answer for this assessment – just a type that an individual can fall loosely into. The assessment can also show what kind of person they have an affinity for and what type of person is a challenge for them. If the team used the tool, then you could have a team-building exercise in person or virtually. The whole team could share this information (what type they are, their preferred types, and the types that may be difficult for them) which can help everyone understand themselves and the collective team a bit better.


As a new manager, one of the most crucial things you have to do is lay out what is important to you. This could include the mission of the team, what values and behaviors the team should demonstrate and which ones they should not bring to the professional environment, and what teamwork looks like to you. This will make your expectations clear to the team. While you may be new to this team, it is important to remind yourself that all judgement comes from your interactions with your new team, not what others are telling you about how they behaved historically. That secondhand information can be very skewed.

If you are hybrid, make sure you have enough one-on-one time with people who are not in the office on a regular basis so you can understand responsibilities, their work, and the challenges that they’re facing. You may ask people to check in more frequently than you would with a team you’ve been managing for a longer period of time, but as a new manager is it vital for you to eliminate issues with communication and to continue providing your team with the support they need to succeed.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on