When you're the new one in charge, don't take charge by charging in. A new boss should lie low for a while and learn at least some of the ropes from the staff that has been there before him. Here's some pointers on how to graduate from being a new boss into becoming a successful one:
- Make no decision until you know enough about the group to make the kind of decisions expected of the boss.
- Avoid making even decisions in your specialty until you learn it all and are ready to make all the decisions.
- Keep your plans to yourself until you're ready to execute them. Promises only weaken the unveiling of your ultimate plans, and gain you nothing.
- However, when you're ready to start making decisions, take your people out to a resort, a long lunch, an unexpected meeting, or any place where you can set the stage and set the agenda.
Give the employees your view of where the organization is, where you see it going, and how you want to get it there.
Invite criticism and discussion of the plans, touching on group strengths and weaknesses; where improvement is possible and where you see the prime opportunities.
If you were called in to become boss in a turnaround - to clean up a mess - here's what to do:
- The first thing you don't do is fire everyone. The people who've been living through the crisis are your first source of information about what can be done to save the company.
- Determine the shape and dimensions of the disaster.
- Realize that the real problem is that your group is not giving other groups the goods, services and support expected.
- Ask two questions of everyone concerned, including yourself: What is expected from us and How have we failed to do what is expected? Different answers may yield interesting differences in points of view.
- Make as many possible of the most sweeping changes early, because the better the situation gets, the more resistant to change people become.