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Leaving your team in the hands of a new manager

Onboarding
Reorganization
Career Path
New Manager

10 October, 2018

Thomas Bartolucci
Thomas Bartolucci

Engineering Director at Squarespace

Thomas Bartolucci shares his insights on the process of transitioning a team over to a new manager.

Problem

As an engineering manager who is going back to full time IC role, I have concern on how to transition my responsibilities and my team to a new manager. I want to find the right balance since I do not want to fully uncover about my direct reports' performance but I also wants to point out the good parts of my reports and let the new manager discover the rest by themselves.

Actions taken

The first advice would be to take a step back and give the new manager more space so the latter could start building relationship with the team, talk to each of them and figure out what their process was going to be like. Stop the 1:1s sessions but make yourself available to reports for any matter that they need help or discussion on. Be honest and transparent about the reason behind the decision, this would greatly help the team understand and accept the change.

Second, review current performance and project status of each direct report and pass these updates on to help the new manager get a clear baseline and know where to pick up from. That should give them an idea of what their team are doing and make them aware of any extreme performance cases - best performers and underperformers - so they would know who to keep an eye on and be able to act accordingly. You can definitely share performance plans/reviews you have made with the new manager since these documents are available and can be shared when needed.

Lessons learned

The best way to achieve a successful transition from one manager to another is to be open-minded, yet organised on the process. It is just proper that the leaving manager provides the new manager an overview of the work performance of each team member. You should make himself available to the incoming manager for meetings or one-on-ones so they can cover as many topics as possible to make sure all critical matters and details are covered. Finally, being transparent and upfront with the team about the change will help put things in the right perspective and achieve a stress-free transition between the parties involved.

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