Building a Team

This article accompanies From HR to the Front Lines.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Making a successful move from HR to line leader means building a support system to help you learn the ins and outs of your new role.

In assembling such a group, diversity is the goal, says Rita McGrath, associate professor of management at the Columbia Business School in New York.

"You . . . want a mix of those who know your company and its management practices well," she says, "and people who are outsiders, such as a key customer."

Seek a blend of colleagues in your new unit, seasoned business leaders and those with strong knowledge of the technology that makes your business tick, says McGrath.

"You'd want a couple of your new peers, perhaps someone with substantive responsibility for operational issues, maybe someone who is very senior. You also want one or two people with deep knowledge of the core capabilities or technologies of your company."

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As a first step, McGrath recommends having these advisers observe and provide feedback on a specific project or initiative.

"You may want to go so far as a 360-degree-feedback session to lay out an agenda," she says. "Then, set specific goals and turn to these folks for advice as you find yourself facing challenges in meeting [those goals]."


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