Bringing in a new team leader

Team Work – bringing in a new team leader

Bringing in a new team leaderThere will be times when you need to bring in a new team leader. This can disrupt an existing team and impact on their performance. Here are some tips for a smooth transition.

Has your existing team leader had to leave suddenly?  Perhaps they have found a better opportunity elsewhere?  You might have decided it was time to make a change? Whatever the reason, now, you have to bring in someone new to lead the team.

The top priority is to explain what is happening. You don’t want to paint the old leader in a negative light – you know there are loyalties. But you want them to accept the change and the new leader.  Here are some top tips for bringing in a new team leader.

  1. Give the team a clear and honest explanation for the change. If things have not been going well, be careful about attributing any failure specifically to the old team leader. But you can be clear about why a new approach is needed. Then emphasize the background and experience of the new team leader.
  2. Honor the past. If good progress has been made and the old team leader left on good terms, there is something to celebrate. This should be done as part of the change to the new team leader. Again, if the old team leader has been taken ill, it is important to recognize the contribution that they, and the team, have made so far.
  3. Tell the team about the new team leader before they arrive. Give them as much information as you can on why this person has been chosen. Show that that both the team and the new team leader have your confidence. Make sure the team are clear about their roles and your expectations.
  4. Make introductions. When the new team leader arrives introduce them to the team yourself. It is great if this can be over coffee or lunch so that there is an opportunity for some informal chat as well as formal introductions.
  5. Have an induction program. Make sure someone takes responsibility for showing the new team leader round. If you want to minimize any glitch in performance make sure that there is an induction program. The new leader needs to meet key people and know why they are important.
  6. Follow-up. Remember to check back. Don’t wait for the next formal board or project meeting to find out how the new leader is settling in. A short phone call from you asking how the new team leader is settling in will make them feel them feel appreciated. It will also give you early warning if all is not going well. Touch base with the team themselves sometimes to show you haven’t abandoned them. But be careful not to undermine the new team leader when you do it.

If you need support transitioning between team leaders, get in touch. Working with a coach can help a team make the change without disruption.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link


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