It is a well-known fact that established teams experience “transition pains” under the leadership of newly appointed managers. The stress levels go up, and both the parties use moves and countermoves to outwit each other. New managers, insecure in their roles, often seek absolute compliance to orders from their subordinates, particularly in their early days.
I’ve always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team – Lee Iacocca
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In fact, most of the new managers struggle in their new roles initially along with their team members. Is there a way out? , yes of course if you want, you can turn it into a win – win situation for you and your manager.
Some of the common concerns of the team members are:
- Will I get along with my new manager?
- How do I make sure that my new manager recognizes the contributions I made before he/she arrived?
- Will my work style clash with that of my new manager?
- What new processes or procedures will my new manager put into place?
- Will my performance and development suffer with this change?What changes will my new manager make to the team, my role, and my projects?
- How can I build a positive relationship with my new manager?
- How can I make sure my new manager recognizes my strengths?
Some of the common concerns of the newly joined managers are:
- How can I establish my authority as manager without alienating my new team?
- Will I get along with my new team?
- Will my work style clash with that of my direct reports?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my new team?
- How can I build positive relationships with my direct reports?
- What projects should be our top priority?
- Who are the key players, and what are the unspoken rules of my new role?
- What are the political “land mines” of my new job?
- How do I quickly prove that I deserved this role?
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If both sides keep on operating from fear and caution time shall pass, and one of the parties will win at the expense of other, more often than not it is the manager that wins, unless you are very strongly glued to your system, and any amount of pestering does not bother you. And always remember the saying – If you think your boss is stupid, remember: you wouldn’t have a job if he was any smarter.
Most of the times the senior management will support the newly appointed manager. They promise him/her the autonomy & authority to shape the team. I am not sure if this is the best way, and if it works against the interest of everyone. Nevertheless, your new manager has the backing and ears of the higher ups. Make no mistakes about this and the higher ups may give you an occasional ear to let off the steam without any long-term benefits.
So it’s in your best interest to help your new manager succeed because when managers struggle, so do their team members. You don’t need to do a lot to help your manager. The challenge for both the parties is to nurture a strong sense of common commitment to shared goals – rather than one of the blind allegiance to each other’s dictates. By having an open dialogue around your concerns you can change the dynamics. Some of the things which you can do make this a win –win transition are.
- Be adaptable
- Be open to change
- Give feedback on ideas
- Help your new manager learn responsibilities of new job.
- Help your new manager learn teams shared objectives
- Help your new manager learn team’s work methods/ processes
- Share your strengths and weaknesses.
- Share the top challenges which you are facing
- Share what is the support that you are expecting from your new manager.
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It’s helpful if you remain open for new ideas and be adaptable. However, that’s not enough. You’ll have a bigger impact if you also provide your new manager with insight into your strengths and weaknesses & offer timely feedback. How about writing a Welcome Letter to your new manager?
The author uses real life stories to demystify the day to day Human Resources Challenges we face at work. His HR Blog – Human Resources Blog endeavours to simplify the HR jargon.