5 questions to ask when managing a new team

5 questions to ask when managing a new team Heading up a new team – either because you’ve made a sideways move, or because you’ve taken on a whole new management job – can be a learning curve at first. Naturally, you want to get your head around your new role as quickly as possible,…

5 questions to ask when managing a new team

Heading up a new team – either because you’ve made a sideways move, or because you’ve taken on a whole new management job – can be a learning curve at first. Naturally, you want to get your head around your new role as quickly as possible, plus figure out what’s not working in the team and the kinds of changes you might be expected to make. All while getting to know those reporting to you!

To help get you started, here are the best five questions to ask and why.

1. What did your past managers do well, and what could they have done differently?

Starting in a new management position is a critical time in which you’re trying to build rapport and trust – and asking this question of individual team members gives you valuable insight. For instance, learning about previous management practices your staff appreciated will give you ideas on how best to motivate your team. And if you hear about some management practices that the team didn’t appreciate, you’ll get an idea of the changes you can implement in order to raise morale (and have a more productive working environment).

2. What tasks do you enjoy working on the most?

Employees who love what they do are more productive – and less likely to look around for another role – so it’s in your best interests to know what they most like doing at work. And although your staff will probably have to work on tasks that they’re not so into, knowing what drives them can help you figure out how to assign tasks to employees that they will be motivated to do. By doing this, you’ll also help maximise their professional growth at work, too.

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Although this is most famously the type of question job-seekers get in an interview, it can be an effective one to ask in this context, too. The answers you get will help you determine how to use your staff’s skillset most effectively – and which projects will maximise their potential, which can only benefit the team’s productivity overall. Learning about your employees weaknesses (if they admit to any) can also help you figure out if you need to implement training programs on an individual level or for the team as a whole.

4. How do you like to receive feedback?

As a manager, you’ll be giving feedback – that’s a given. But working out early how your employees will be most receptive to it is important. Do they prefer it in person, or via email? Would they like it whenever it’s required or on a scheduled basis such as monthly or part of a quarterly review? Showing your employees you care about their preferences helps build a good working relationship between you.

5. What’s most important to you outside of work?

If The Great Resignation has taught us anything, it’s that managers need to be sensitive to their employees’ needs. Asking this question gives you insights into your staff’s personal priorities – whether that’s picking up their kids on time or making it to the gym a few nights a week. Once you know what’s important to them, you can help accommodate that work-life balance by offering flexible hours or workshopping other strategies to support their lives outside of work. The result will be happier, more engaged employees who are far less prone to burnout.