How to Fail When Taking Over a New Team

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    Learning requires action and sometimes failing. There are a number of failures that I have learned from throughout my career. One of the most painful for me was in my early days of multi-unit management. I had just been transferred for the first time out of my hometown to a new city with an entirely new group of stores, employees, and customers. Coming into this new environment, I was a little cocky. I had been a rock star store manager and after my promotion, I led a rock star district of stores. My team was good and my stores were very profitable. So of course, I assumed if my new team wasn’t comprised of rock stars, I could have that turned around in no time. Unfortunately, the time frame it took for that to happen was quite a bit longer than I expected. The main reason, I thought it was about me and my talents. It wasn’t. I took over a team of rock stars who just didn’t know it yet. And everything I did when I got there communicated that they weren’t.

    The mistakes I made were classic failures in taking over a team. Here are a few:

    • I frequently referenced my old team
    • I talked about how I was successful when I was doing my job
    • I gave them the “Mazurek Rules” instead of helping them develop a set that worked for the team
    • I didn’t ask them enough questions
    • I spoke a lot about my expectations and didn’t ask them about theirs
    • I failed to understand that this transition was a change that they would need to work through

    Taking over a team the right way can greatly impact the influence and trust you have with your team. Without those two things, you are certain to fail in your endeavor to move your team in a positive direction. Alan Collins over at Success in HR offers a great post on this topic. He even provides a free download of how to do it the right way. Check it out.

    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.

    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.