It can be overly tempting for some recently hired leaders to want to put their stamp on the department or division that they’ve just been hired to run. This is particularly understandable when the business or unit has been underperforming. But with an all too common regularity I’ve observed new leaders enter successful situations and proceed with little regard to the foundation for this very success: the talented people behind it.
While everyone is impacted by a new leader from the outside who appears to fly solo, the most talented high performing members of the team are often hardest hit. It is usually these success drivers who have been the most deeply committed and have invested the most in time, talent and passion. So it stands to reason as to why they can become the most discouraged when trying to adjust to an uncommunicative new boss who appears to have little appreciation for their ideas or contributions. Thus begins the flight of top talent…and who can blame them?
Here’s a listing of the 5 most common mistakes a new leader can make in their first 6 months with an organizations top performers:
- Fail to invest in learning about the workplace, it’s challenges and opportunities from the team that is there. Doing so makes it seem as if nothing from the past, including successes, matters.
- Hire a management consultant with no prior knowledge or experience with the department/organization/business. This is particularly onerous if the new leader is, similarly, completely new to the workplace. Double trouble.
- Devise a change management strategy with no/limited consultation of the existing team. This sounds so obvious but alas, all too common.
- Micromanage. Especially for those top performers who are used to a high level of trust in their abilities, this is a guaranteed de-motivator.
- Adopt a unilateral decision making style. Again, for team members who are used to providing input and impacting direction, this can be unduly frustrating.
If you are the new boss, you’d be wise to invest time and resources in getting to know the members of the team you’re taking over. Sure, after doing so you may still see the need for change, but at least you’ll now have a good grasp of what and who has brought past success.