Why Transformational Leadership Training is Invaluable for a New CEO inheriting existing staff

by | Nov 29, 2016

ceo-inheritsA new CEO or manager coming into a business is part of business and organizational life. Existing staff are often on edge as the element of uncertainty about the future of the business and their role in it, is heightened. Transformational leadership training can play a big role in the success of a new CEO or manager as it provides invaluable tools and skills to manage the process effectively.

When the NFL season started in the first week of September, eight teams took to the field, many with new coaches. Gus Bradley, for instance, stepped out to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars and, if he can get them to win four games this year, they’ll be performing twice as well as last year. Bradley and the other coaches inherited their teams, and have to comprehend and utilize existing talent on their rosters.

In business, leaders can also “inherit” a roster of employees when they purchase or take on a leadership role at a new business. Despite the circumstances, they too are expected to make business “wins.” How can a new owner or CEO effectively lead a team to victory, even with players they may not have chosen themselves?

Being the new kid on the block and the leader are not easy. Staff will not automatically know what you expect nor will they necessarily fall into alignment with your vision. In addition to a preexisting corporate culture and social hierarchy, you very often have political sensitivities, back stories, and even latent conflicts, making communications messy.

How do you make it work? As a new leader, the first critical step is to be certain you have alignment of purpose (i.e., everyone at least facing the same direction).

Share Goals, Objectives, and an Agenda

Does the organization have objectives and goals to actively pursue, or are people just doing the work that comes to them on a day-to-day basis? In other words, is there a strategy guiding this team? Is it aligned with a vision? Do you know? Does the corporate vision statement need to be revisited or reinforced?

Organize staff meetings to introduce and discuss your ideas, explore how you envision things working, and decide what direction you want your business or practice to go. These meetings will help determine if there is interest from the existing team in helping you drive your ideas forward.

Find Out Where People Fit In

How approachable or removed are you as a leader? How personable? When you inherit staff, there are going to be undercurrents that can hinder—or help—employee performance. It’s important to understand the organization’s dynamics, seeing where individuals fit into the group, and establish your leadership role in it. Your style and expectations may be very different when compared to your predecessor. Providing clarity of your expectations for your new employees provides reassurance and helps the existing team align with you.

Motivating a team to adopt your objectives is critical to the success of any leader. It is equally important to listen to your employees’ ideas. They have the benefit of having worked within the organization and can offer invaluable insights. When their voices are heard, their overall performance often improves.

Take Your Time

Taking on a role with an existing roster of employees is a challenge. It requires balancing leadership with discovery, and establishing your vision while appreciating the backgrounds of the people before you. Like a new coach, seeing how your players perform, how they work as a team, and if they’re going to help you move the ball down the field are essential elements of a winning team.

Resist leaping to conclusions about particular personalities or how the team appears to function. Give yourself time to understand how things work. Observe who is doing what and how people interact with one another. In the initial stage of your new role, it is vital to put aside judgment. When you avoid impulsive decisions, you can discover the true lay of the land. Transformational leadership training provides the insights and skills to effectively manage this challenging process.

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