New leaders must choose their team ASAP

Transitioning to a leadership position within an organisation today is proving more challenging than it has in the past, as new leaders have a very short period of time to adapt to the ever-changing business environment of today. In survey carried out by Mckinsey, executives have stated that one of the most important things to do when you enter a new leadership position is to pick your direct report team as soon as is possible.

75% of those surveyed stated that it is imperative a new leader moves quickly in putting together their team and 72% stated that they wish they had put their team together faster. It is clear that being able to get the right team in place as soon as possible drives success. McKinsey’s survey also showed that success is higher when a new team is stabilised quickly and when fewer changes within the team are made. Mckinsey outline a number of tips which could help a leader put together a team of direct reports quickly.

  1. Before you accept the new position, first try to find out the level of freedom you will have in assessing your team and making changes, as well as if there are any restrictions or limitations which may complicate putting together the team.
  2. Avoid extremes at all cost, such as leaving the total previous team in place or replacing the whole team. One CEO surveyed by McKinsey had a good balance, he kept one-third of the previous team, selected another third from within the organisation who were younger people who could offer a new perspective and a further third was a selection of colleagues he had worked with in the past.
  3. HR should be involved, however it is also advisable to seek the advice and services of head-hunters and recruitment consultants who will be able to provide you with candidates you might not necessarily have had access to on your own, as well as provide you with an objective perspective. This can be particularly helpful if you happen to take up a new leadership position during a crisis.
  4. Work out what skills you need in order to achieve your aims. This will be hugely important and will include employees who have exceptional people skills or technical expertise, for example.
  5. Try and avoid immediately rejecting candidates you don’t believe are the correct fit for the team. You may for example overlook a candidate who may for example have exceptional administrative skills because you feel that they aren’t strong on strategy. There is also the option to provide coaching and training for that employee and consider what that employee could achieve in a couple of months. If there is no sign of improvement or development in this employee, then it is time to make a change in the team!
  6. It is also important to make sure that the team is a reflection of the diversity of both your organisation and your clients. McKinsey research has found that there is a correlation between both the performance and health of each organisation and the diversity of the executive level team.
  7. If you have taken a new leadership position in the midst of a crisis, you must move swiftly to select your team, even if you do not yet have all the information. It could be more of a risk to not make any decision on a team than to make one that may not be 100% correct.
  8. You must be able to trust the judgement and abilities of your team members. If you choose members who do not have the same feelings as yourself or who think differently than you do, you can ensure you get a diverse view when it comes to solving problems.

For every transition that is a failure, the organisation pays a high price, there needs to be better support in place for new leaders if they are to be successful. After the new team has been put together, it is important that team-building and bonding is made a priority also. This will create a deeper, trusting relationship among the team.

For more information on our leadership/team coaching service click here or for more information on our search services click here to visit our website or email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *