Have You Read this Page in Your New Leader Playbook?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Starting a new position, especially in a leadership role, is never easy. You have to navigate the technical requirements of the job. And, you need to decide how or if you’re going to fit yourself into the corporate culture.

Some leaders come into a company with a mandate to change everything. In fact, there’s a group of leaders who come into these positions with only that mandate. Once they fix the company, which is often failing, they hand over the reins to another individual who is expected to manage the new systems and people that have been put in place.

A more typical scenario, though, is a leader who is hired, sometimes from the outside, to take over for an individual who has moved on to another company or retired. How do you succeed in this kind of situation? Naphtali Hoff urges you to figure out how your personality stacks up against the personality of the individual who left the position. If you impose your competitive and impulsive personality on team members who are accustomed to dealing with a leader who was organized and rules-​driven, how do you think your first few group meetings and one-​on-​one encounters will go? Probably not all that well.

To reduce conflict and disorder, consider taking a personality assessment and ask your team members to do the same. These assessments will reveal core aspects of each individual’s personality, including your own. When team members understand a little more about you and about their co-​workers, some of the strife will disappear from your workplace. A sales rep who might have felt slighted when the new customer service rep didn’t say hello in the parking lot will now better understand that the lack of friendliness wasn’t personal. If you tend to be more focused and analytical than your predecessors, your team members will realize that your constant questioning about their work processes is an attempt to drive efficiency, not find fault.

Regardless of the type of personality assessment system you use, take the time to discuss the process and results with your team members. You need to reinforce the fact that you’re working to improve their work life and the organization as a whole. Stay focused on that goal and the outcome will be more successful.