If you are working with a new client, or even an existing one, or you have been promoted to manage a new group, or even a group that you have managed for a long time, take time to sit down with each person and really understand what is on their mind.
Whenever I work with a new client, I like to step into their world for a few days and really understand where they are at. My favorite approach is to interview 30-35 people for thirty minutes each by asking basic questions like, “What do you think is happening here that is effective, what do you think is ineffective, and what do you think would make it more effective?” I don’t write down anyone’s name. I just sit there and take notes for two days. Then I read the notes and patterns emerge that help me greatly in understanding the client. My second favorite approach is to watch them very closely as they do their actual work. This helps me to understand what challenges they face every day.
Spend a lot of time in trying to undertstand where people are at. It will greatly help you when you step into your actual day-to-day work with them.