Worst Mistakes a New Boss Can Make
Just because you got promoted, it doesn’t mean you got smarter. Don’t act like you did. Turn down your ego and dial up your listening skills.
The absolute worst mistake a new boss can make is acting like they know everything, saying the previous boss was an idiot, and make big proclamations about the massive improvements they will make, immediately.
This is the worst thing a new leader can do and it sends all the wrong signals to the company, the customers and other suppliers. It also sends immediate concerns to all the groups that will work with this leader and their team.
New leaders need to listen.
This a simple plan for a new leader to follow. The chadllenge is it takes time and discipline but the results are well worth the investment.
First, the best path for a new leader is to identify the people in their own organization, their top customers and other suppliers and ask them what is happening in the business. Ask 2-3 simple questions like, “What are the things we do best, why?” “What are the things we do poorly, why?” “If we could start doing 3 things differently today, what would they be?” This will lead to more questions that will give the new leader insights about their business.
Next, a new leader should set up time with all of their direct reports, and all of the key influencers in their organization and ask the same questions. Also, simply get to know your team. What are their interests? What do they do outside of work? What are their passions?
Last, a new leader should summarize what they heard from all these groups. There will be 4-6 themes that will emerge like, better communication, understanding the strategy, feeling more engaged, better training, etc. They should share them with their team, the larger organization, their customers and key suppliers. Be certain to include the next 90-days action plan to address what they heard.
Follow up with the same groups in 90 days and share what’s been accomplished and what the priorities are for the next 90 days.
I have taken this approach in building and leading new teams for over 25 years and it works. It takes time and you must avoid diving into every detail on the team and making quick uninformed decisions while you build your knowledge of the business.
This approach vs. a new leader who acts like they know everything will provide long term, repeatable results. Your teams will be more engaged, informed and will spend more time working on the initiatives that will make a difference.