Approaching established teams - are you a hero, a savior or a thorn in their side
So, you are the new boss
many leaders in the New Zealand public sector find themselves with a
boss they didn't sign up to work for. What is to be made of this
experience? I have just had a look at the 29 CE's of NZ public agencies.
Since January 2012, eighteen CEs have been appointed. Six were
appointed the previous year, 2011. This means only five CEs have more
than four years in their current role.
definately have new leaders in our organisations. The likelihood of
fresh approaches, innovation and not doing the same old things in the
same old way, is high. However, with each new appointment, comes an
entry into an established leadership team. A team usually appointed by
your predecessor. How hard is this?
What are the things to be alert to as you approach to the new team? Firstly, change is already underway. The context of the vacancy and a new leader being appointed is crucial.
is the CE's brief? To provide stability, turn an organisation
around, strengthen stakeholder relationships, or restructure the
organisation for stronger and better service delivery? Immediately we
see that the context the original executives were appointed within has
changed from their original brief. Many leaders accept a role in a
leadership team with three criteria in mind; the context, the purpose of
the organisation and who the boss is. And now two of these have
changed: the boss and the context.
A new leader in a leadership team tosses up at least two dilemmas for those involved.
you are the boss, you are inheriting a team and yet they haven't been
chosen by you, nor have they chosen you. Most bosses are going to want
to have a leadership team of people you can trust, people who understand
the business and who can deliver results with your leadership.
you are a member of a leadership team you are likely to want a boss you
can influence, a boss who seeks your counsel, and a boss who provides
direction yet leaves you free to lead in your area.
notice how well leaders and leadership team members connect and develop
relationships with one another greatly influences the results of the
business and the emotional quality amongst all staff within the
How might you as the boss develop working relationship with your new team? What can be done?
What works for you as the boss?
One suggestion is to meet each team member prior to any team meeting is a good beginning.
leaders initiate this with their boss. This meeting is important with
first impressions and the connections you make. How easy is the human
connection between you? What do you let your team members know about
you? How open are you in letting your team how you think is important in
your life, and discovering what is important in theirs?Where they are
headed and how do they like to work? How will you discuss the context of
the Boss entering the team or organisation, from both your
perspectives? Landing these conversations set the scene for your work
How might you ease your entry into the group, get people onside and enable you and everyone there to contribute their best.
Three things for you as leader:
1. Learn to develop relationships quickly, and
2. Share your vision and expectations early on with clear simple messages and
3. Choose trusted advisors so you can tune into how people are responding to you and the direction you are taking.
new leader entering an established group or organisation creates
significant shifts in the relationships and collegial alliances.
you as the new leader, and your team, don't attend to enabling new
connections amongst people throughout the organisation, the likelihood
of being the thorn in people's side, and theirs in yours, increases.
Here are some simple conversations that are likely to create mutual connections between people through shared experiences. Discovering from one another:
- Where you have come from
- How long you have been in the organisation?
- What is your role?
- Your vision for the group and organisation
- How you like to work with others
- How will the new direction affect you?
Here is a silver bullet
Ensure you create an environment that enables people in your team and
throughout the organisation to easily connect with one another around
the new direction; to have conversations on how their work is impacted,
how they are responding to deliver in the new context; and what they
want from you and the leadership team in the organisation to assist
If you want to hear more, come and talk with me, or listen to my free podcasts at http://diana-jones.com/category/podcast-series-at-the-heart-of-the-matter/, or download them free from itunes by searching under At the heart of the Matter