Taking the Helm

The following is an excerpt from “Managerial Mistakes, Missteps and Misunderstandings; A Guide for Avoiding Common Pitfalls” by Blaine Little. Available on Amazon September 29th, 2020. 

One of the most important first steps of taking the lead of an organization or department is to assess the team. If it is a newly formed group, this means getting to know them on an individual basis. You may want to have an informal meeting or “huddle” your first day on the new job. This is a wonderful place to be tactfully blunt and relate your overall vision. Sometimes the C-Suite wants to see a new direction soon. Perhaps too soon. After all, it could be the previous boss was fired or even “kicked upstairs.” If this is the case, rumor mills being what they are, the team will have assuredly gotten a whiff of what truly happened. That being the case, it will also understand you are in the hot seat to perform.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-3184405.jpegHowever, it is not necessary to outline ALL of your new policies and procedures in great detail during your original staff meeting. Too much detail should be avoided at this time if it is a matter of several changes. Otherwise, it could be information overload for the team. Just give them enough initially to see where things are headed.

Once your management style and expectations have been accepted by the team, you can then bring online new processes or innovations gradually. You can convey your priorities and what lies ahead without turning everything upside down overnight. So, explain what the new direction is if any, and why it is necessary. Most of all assure that you are there as a support for the organization.

You will most likely have a different style than that of your predecessor and you will no doubt have a mental checklist of things to do differently. Bringing your personality into the position is exactly what you should do. Otherwise, you would be viewed as unoriginal, which would cause others to question your authenticity. Just remember, since most people hate change, to allow a certain amount of time for the old style of management to dovetail into your own. In other words, allow your team the opportunity to get its collective head around your being the new boss.


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