Leadership and management are difficult and complicated skills at the best of times with a lot of different factors to consider and many delicate angles. Of course it’s highly important to be liked, but at the same time you need to focus on doing what’s best for the team even when it’s not the most popular decision – and sometimes personality clashes will get in the way.
When personality clashes start to affect productivity and work ethic however this is when you know you have a problem and you need to do something about it, and this can be more difficult when you are coming into the situation in a position that makes you unpopular. For instance if you are taking over from a popular boss – particularly if you are coming from outside after a corporate buyout or other scenario – then this can create a number of problems. Here then we will look at how to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible and that you hep your new staff to see you as something other than their colleague’s replacement.
Don’t Change too Much: There is a saying that the first thing you should do when you take on a new leadership role is to alter the seating thereby making your ‘mark’ on the office and making sure everyone knows there’s a new sheriff in town. In reality though this is unnecessarily confrontational and it will create enemies from day one where you don’t need them. Instead then, try to make the transition as smooth as possible and make as little noise about it as you can by keeping things largely the same.
Get to Know People: Taking over with an aggressive stance and throwing new rules and regulations around is going to turn people against you because they don’t know you and you haven’t ‘earned’ the right to act familiar or call the shots (particularly in the case of mergers and acquisitions). Spend some time getting to know the staff then, not only so that they feel more of an affinity with you, but also so you know their individual skills and how best to use them. Invite everyone out for drinks, head over to their desk for a chat, or organize some team building days to get this ball rolling.
Ask for Help: No matter how experienced and smart you are, these people will have more experience of working in that particular context and will know how they work best. This makes them assets, not threats, so make sure that you treat them as such and ask them for their advice.
Keep Your Enemies Close: No matter how great of a job you do taking over there are always going to be voices against you and the natural impulse might be to isolate them by shutting them out of the decision making process. Doing this though will only make permanent enemies of them and give them time to recruit more disgruntled staff – so instead make sure that you keep them close by actually giving them more responsibility. Mussolini called this ‘Transformismo’ and actually it will also show them how tough your role is meaning you’ll likely make allies of them yet.
Georgia Rae is a very innovative and resourceful lady. She owns successful blogging site where she blogs about topics related to marketing, economics and entrepreneurship.