How To Help Employees You Inherit Buy Into Your Vision

by | May 3, 2016

exec_coach_blog_2015_10_06Inheriting an existing team when you come into a new organization or business in a leadership role is a pressured situation and challenge. The first weeks and months are critical to re-shaping the organization. More communication with employees is required at the start to establish trust, rapport and importantly a united understanding of how the organization is moving forward.

Every new NFL head coach feels the pressure, including San Francisco 49er’s new head coach, Jim Tomsula.

During his career, Tomsula has been instrumental in developing one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL, however amidst bunch of player retirements and the loss of Frank Gore, Tomsula certainly has his work cut out for him.

Once of his biggest challenges is selling his team on the winning environment they still have in San Francisco and trying to get a group of guys to buy in to everything he’s preaching.

Tomsula inherited a team with an 8 — 8 record in 2014 (under former coach Jim Harbaugh) and everyone is looking to him to turn things around.

Same thing often happens in business. Leaders “inherit” a roster of employees and are expected to create “business wins” despite the circumstances, or challenges of that new role.

How can a new owner or CEO effectively lead a team to victory, even with players they may not have chosen themselves?

As a new leader, the first critical step is to align your purpose. More communication with employees is essential at the start. It’s a process. You need to get everyone to face in the same direction.

Being the new kid on the block, it won’t be easy. Employees won’t know what you expect, nor do they always 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. So what type of communication with employees is most effective.

3 Ways to Make It Work:

Step 1: Share Goals, Objectives, and an Agenda

Identify your organization’s goals and objectives and create a strategy to guide your team. Understand the corporate vision and revisit and reinforce it if necessary.

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

Step 2: Find Out Where People Fit In

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, and see where individuals fit into the group.

Although your style and expectations may differ from your predecessor establish your leadership role. Provide clear expectations, reassurance and offer to help your new 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.

Step 3: Take Your Time

Taking on a new leadership role will be challenging. You will need to balance leadership with discovery, and establish your vision, while recognizing and appreciating the nuances of the people before you.

Resist leaping to conclusions about particular personalities or how the team appears to function. In the initial stage of your new role, it is vital to put aside judgment and avoid impulsive decisions. More communication with employees allows you to get to know the members of your team and build trust.

Give yourself time to observe who is doing what and how people interact with one another. It will help you discover the true lay of the land.

Much like 49er’s coach, Jim Tomsula, you need to see how your players perform, how they work as a team, and if they’re going to help you move the ball down into the end zone and give you the touchdown you’re after.



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