When a manager first takes over an established team, whether the manager is brand new or well- seasoned, there is always a transition curve.
The manager will encounter people, personalities and processes that have all been there chugging along, whether successfully or not.
Sometimes, hidden among the team members, will be tough employee problems just waiting to bubble over.
Here are three scenarios managers say they inherit and some ideas on how to handle them.
Tough Call No. 1: The Discipline Problem
“Something happened before I even came on board and the person was never disciplined for it. Now, everyone’s looking to me to do something about it.”
The best course of action is to take action. Leave it unchecked and the person may think he or she may be able to get away with it again.
Look into what happened, what’s been done thus far, and what needs to happen from here.
Assuming it is not a fire-able offense, take the employee aside and try to gear your conversation towards the future.
Even if someone needs to be suspended without pay or some other serious consequence, keep the focus on how you can work together and prevent problems in the future.
Tough Call No. 2: A Bad Employee
“I clearly have a bad apple on my new team. Is it better to try and salvage her or just get rid of her?”
If the person can do the job and just isn’t trying or is goofing off, you might want to put some energy into salvaging that individual. In fact, being new to the team, you may think you should try to save this person.
Just don’t spend too much of your time on it if you aren’t making headway.
The top commodity you offer to your new team as manager is your time. And if you spend too much of it on a lost cause, you risk being seen as just more overhead.
To simplify, you can break your employees into three categories:
- Eagles: top performers who fly and soar.
- Robins: reliable folks who flock to work each day and get their jobs done.
- Turkeys: need we say more.
Ask yourself: Where am I spending the majority of my time and energy? Too many managers will say the lion’s share goes to the turkeys – and that’s not good!
It’s best to spend more time encouraging your eagles to keep soaring and getting your robins to fly eagles.
Spend only enough time with turkeys to let them know they need to get better – or else.
Tough Call No. 3: The Unmotivated Employee
“I have someone on my team who is happy to stay where he is and never move up through the ranks.”
Is that always the worst thing? If this person is a solid soldier and is good at what he or she does, it’s probably a good idea to leave well enough alone.
Every organization needs good people who can get the work done. Not everyone wants to be climbing the ladder, though continuous improvement should still be a goal.
When people stay productive, keep them like that.