Here’s the context for today’s question: “I am a new leader in my organization. However, I am not a new leader – I have leadership experience in a previous company. Unfortunately, my experience doesn’t seem to count here. I’m having trouble getting traction in my new role. What advice do you have for me?”
First, I want to be careful not to undervalue the challenge you face. Navigating the situation you described can be extremely difficult.
My experience in this is limited. I’ve been with one organization for many years. But, I have changed roles and departments in the company and been faced with a similar challenge. Based on this experience, here are three tactics that may help.
Listen – Ask great questions. Listen. Ask follow-up questions. Listen. Find a different person and repeat the process. Then, do it again. Context matters. If you’re new, you do not fully understand the context. You’ll get it much quicker if you listen. You’ll have plenty of time to talk later.
Learn – Learn all you can as fast as you can about your new situation. Learn about the people, the product or services your organization offers. Learn about your competitors and your industry. Learn about past successes and failures. Learn about the leaders who preceded you. Learn about people’s hopes, dreams and fears about new leadership. The more you learn, the better you can…
Lead – You are in a position of leadership because someone in your organization believes you can. Be sure to prove them right. Yes, a season of observation may be appropriate, but don’t be slow to act. If you want respect of the people you want to lead. I would suggest a new vision as a potential starting point. Leadership always begins with a picture of the future. Your new team may be testing you. If you can’t talk about a preferred future, you’re not leading, you’re pretending.
Change is hard for most people. Often the reaction you get when you’re new in a role is more about change than it is about you. As a leader, you may never make people love change, but if you and I lead well, we can help people get comfortable with change. A big part of that is their comfort with us. The ideas above can lay the foundation for that comfort and ultimately trust.
If you are new in your leadership role – good luck and have fun![GLS_Shield]