Team | Collins McNicholas

Helping a New Team Leader Rise to The Challenge After a Rocky Start

Helping a New Team Leader Rise to The Challenge After a Rocky StartQuestion: I’m the senior manager in a MedTech firm. I promoted another staff member to team leader after he showed exceptional skill during a successful trial period. Eight weeks into his role, two team members have raised issues about his leadership qualities. I promoted him because of his high standard and think he will be a fantastic role model. I want to see him do well, and inspire confidence. How do I bring this up without causing tension between him and his team? Answer: Leading a team long term requires a specific set of skills. But many who are successful at a senior level struggle to make the transition from management of operations or projects to people management. Often training, mentoring and on-going support are required to assist them. 1 Why is this issue arising now? As the team leader has successfully completed a trial period, consider what is the difference between the environment now and during that period. Is the workload heavier? Are there stresses now that did not exist before? While other team members are citing issues with their direct-line management, perhaps there are other issues. Gather information on the performance of the team, attendance records and project requisitions. Garner informal feedback from other team leaders or managers. An overall barometer of the composition and performance of the team will allow you to ascertain if the issue is with the direct line management of the team or with the more strategic issues of the allocation of workload, stress management or more complex dynamics within the team itself. 2 Initiate a coaching-based conversation Organise a confidential space to discuss any areas of concern with the new team leader. Allow him time to express how he feels the role is going, any supports required, and areas that are proving to be a struggle. Try to approach this as a coaching conversation: ask open questions, provide him with time and space to respond, listen to his feedback and allow him to generate potential solutions. It is important that an appropriate tone is set. It is not a performance review or a disciplinary procedure, simply a discussion of their role to date. Ensure that actions are identified for implementation following the meeting. Encourage him to take responsibility for as many of the actions as possible and appropriate. Set timeframes and deadlines for implementation, including progress updates. 3 Provide formal training Formal external training is a good starting point for those who struggle with people management. It provides a basic toolkit to turn to when issues arise and can help them analyse their management style, note any gaps and build confidence. When sourcing training providers, ensure the training is in keeping with the ethos and culture of the company, request a conversation with the training provider and a look at the training materials. Good trainers will also request information on your organisation and the individual beforehand. 4 Highlight ongoing support Emphasise that support is available. While it may be tempting to try to “solve” all issues in one conversation or declare him competent after a training day, continuous support and assistance are more likely to facilitate success. An “open door” policy, checking in from time-to-time and periodic emails serve to reinforce your support and accessibility. This should serve to build confidence, allow you both to deal with issues as they arise and build a valuable feedback loop. 5 Consult human resources for internal processes Do not allow the fact that you have selected this individual to cloud your judgement or alter your approach in dealing with the situation. Explore the issue with HR on an informal basis initially. Make yourself familiar with company policy on performance issues, feedback and disciplinaries. This will allow you to follow established best practice, afford the individual every chance possible and support you to behave in an ethical manner in keeping with relevant legal frameworks.           Caroline Ward HR Services Manager Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article first appeared in the business section of The Sunday Independent, on the 8th of October 2017, and the original article can be viewed...

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I’m worried about how I’m going to make my mark as a young first-time Team Leader

Question: I’m in my early 30s and nearly 10 years into a successful IT career. I’ve recently been given the responsibility of managing a team of junior staff. If all goes well, I’ll be offered an official management role. However, this is my first time taking any kind of team leader responsibility and I’m worried about taking on such a big responsibility. I’m determined to be a good mentor and a strong team leader but I don’t know where to start. How can I approach this new role and start off on a strong note? Answer: First of all, congratulations. It is great to hear that you understand the gravity of the change that you will be undertaking in your role. High-potential individuals, having displayed exceptional skill in their role, are often promoted to the very different position of team leader or manager. While seen as a natural “next step”, the skills required in managing people are often very different to the qualities and actions required in the day-to-day role. For example, delegation, empathy, planning, negotiation may all be demanded daily of a team leader. In order to approach the role with confidence, take some time to think about how you are going to approach this new opportunity. Here are some items that you should consider. 1. Examine the key characteristics or skills of a leader or manager you respect or admire Take some time to contemplate the qualities and actions of a current or former leader, which you have seen as being particularly effective. Focus on the areas that you believe makes them successful, rather than just what makes them...

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Company Day Out in Limerick

Collins McNicholas recently had its annual company day in Limerick city. Every year the entire company gets together to have some fun, meet the newest members of our team and catch up on what is happening in the company. We choose a different location each summer, last year it was Killaloe, and everyone was delighted to find out we would be going to Limerick this year. Limerick has tonnes of interesting things to see and do, great accommodation options and the people are terrific. Our day started bright and early when we took part in the launch of the Mid-West Relocation Survey, along with our partners in the Limerick Chamber of Commerce, Limerick City & County Council and IDA Ireland. The survey was a remarkable success. It highlights the vibrancy of the local communities, not just in Limerick but throughout the Mid-West region. Lots of people are relocating to take advantage of the many job opportunities that have appeared because of the regions rapid growth in the last few years. IDA Ireland sited it as the fastest growing region for FDI in the country. Multinational companies are recognising the many advantages of setting up a facility in Limerick, with its large pool of graduates from the University of Limerick, and the overall cost-competitiveness of the region. Recent investments include Regeneron, Element Six, Northern Trust, and Uber, to name a few. That afternoon, following the success of the survey launch, we had a beautiful lunch at the Strand Hotel, where we also stayed that night, before proceeding to the Milk Market for a series of games organised by Get West....

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