New leadership positions are a wonderful challenge for leaders but they bring with them significant dangers. The challenges are obvious but the dangers often are not. They include moving too quickly, reading existing staff wrong, alienating people because we don't understand them and their concerns, violating a culture we are not familiar with and the list could go on. All of these are unintentional but they can cause new leaders to lose precious favor at the beginning of their tenure.

Thus I have several suggestions for new leaders.

Consider waiting a year to make major changes. We are often in a hurry but unless you are solving an immediate problem that must be solved, waiting a year to make major changes gives you valuable time to listen, develop relationships and get a lay of the land. The better one knows the organization and its people the less likely one will make a decision that they will later regret. 

Don't make promises when people lobby you. You are new and people are nervous about change. People will often jockey for your ear in order to secure their position or paradigm. Listen but don't commit. One needs to preserve their options as the picture unfolds.

Be realistic about staff. The only way to properly evaluate staff is to see them in action over a period of time. What you see when you arrive may or may not be what you are really getting as people will be on their best behavior with a new leader. Watch, listen, and evaluate with an open mind. People you might want to write off may be jewels and people who look good at the start may well not be.

Dialogue often and ask lots of questions. Before you tip your hand on where you desire to go dialogue and listen to people to get a true view of who they are and what their philosophy is. Many people will tell you what you want to hear. What you really want to hear is what they really think. 

Find some folks who will give you perspective. Organizations have cultures and you want to understand the culture you have walked into. If you can find some trustworthy individuals who can tell you why things are they way they are you have vital information about how you go about change and where the potential mines are. Some of those mines are people who if crossed can be difficult (or lethal). The more you know the better off you are.

Get advice from trusted advisers outside the organization. We should not fear making radical moves but we should fear doing it poorly. Talk to trusted friends or advisers who can give you perspective from outside your organization. They can be more dispassionate than those inside. They can also tell you things that an insider may not have the courage to share.

Seek God's wisdom constantly. Ask and you shall receive! Don't do this alone but always in a prayerful and listening spirit to the Holy Spirit who know all things. 

  • Nov 13, 2013
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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