Your first actions as a new leader are crucially important. They set the tone for your leadership style and strategy. They show what you’re all about. They can help you to affirm that you are the right person for the role. Importantly, they need to be the right actions.
Often the right action is not to leap in and make changes. Remember the hare and the tortoise? Slow and steady can be the best tactic to employ. Instead of making impulsive decisions and radical changes, taking the time to take stock and gather information on your new team(s) can garner the best results in the long run.
We were interested to read in the Harvard Business Review that nearly three-quarters of leaders admit to being unprepared for their new role, and that nearly half of them ‘disappoint or fail’ in the first 18 months. Their suggested approach resonated with us at PCS – gather information early so that you can make informed decisions rather than making assumptions based on your previous experience.
As Constance Dierickx wrote in the Harvard Business Review:
Leaders’ actions in the early days of their roles create an impression that’s hard to shake later. Managing the urge to make an early mark, gleaning information from all parts of the organization, and deciding on your primary area of focus will help you build the knowledge and political capital you need to succeed in your new position.
One employee that we spoke to recalled the first actions of a new CEO at their company. The new leader was a surprise hire given his lack of track record in the area and relative inexperience. His first email to his staff was intended to motivate and show that he meant business. In it, he instructed the members of his media company that, under his leadership, they must wear corporate dress which included ties. This, his first message to his staff and his first mark of change, served to prove his lack of awareness of the industry in which they worked, showed how little he understood the feelings of his teams and their priorities. Needless to say, it set him off on the wrong foot and turned his staff against him. He lasted less than 12 months in the role.
As a new leader, you will want to show that you are equipped to make the necessary changes and improvements to your business to boost its results. Our experience shows that the best move you can make is to learn about your team(s) – your most valuable resource – and how they feel about their workplace and management. Once you know what’s working well and what isn’t, you can focus your attention on the most important areas and make real impact. The information that you gain from working with PCS enables you to implement the changes that result in tangible cost efficiencies, improvements in process and an obvious return on investment. Now that is the mark of a powerful, credible leader.
Find out more about the PCS offering and how it can help your business at performanceclimatesystem.com