Tips for Managing a New Team by Austen Kuehl, Supply Chain Manager

Tips for Managing a New Team


As I moved into my new managerial position at Corwin and acquired the existing Delivery Driver team, it was extremely important to me to get off to a good start with my employees.  During this process, I discovered a few strategies that helped me execute a successful transition.

Develop Relationships

In my opinion, the most important step is to work on forming positive relationships with your workforce.  I find that spending one-on-one time with employees in the trade can help build relationships.  This lets you experience what your employees go through on a daily basis.  This is also a great time to discuss challenges and opportunities within the employee’s job duties.  As in all successful relationships, good communication is crucial.  It’s very important for employees to feel they can come to you with any and all issues pertaining to their job.

Evaluate Morale

It’s also important to determine the current morale within the department. I like to do this by asking everyone the same few questions about the main aspects of their job. What would they change?  What would they do to make things more efficient?  This helps by revealing different employee perspectives, and possibly uncovering where there may be gaps in communication within the organization.  Each employee brings strengths and thoughts of how a department should be run.    While not every idea given will be put in place, I’ll at least have the opportunity to exchange ideas with my employees.  This not only gives the employee ownership of the process but also keeps them informed, making the team stronger as a whole.

Analyze Current Procedures

I recommend spending significant time getting to know the department and analyzing the way things are currently being done. If one job function doesn’t make sense upon initial review, it might make more sense when you have learned every step in every process. It is important to know these steps well before making changes. If decisions are made too fast, without understanding all aspects of each process, efficiencies and morale can be damaged. 

Taking on a new team can be challenging, but it can also be highly rewarding for all involved when you take the time to analyze processes and get to know your team!