Monday, 8 july 2019 | Redacción CEU
Being the newcomer and fitting in is not always an easy task. As a general rule, human beings are reluctant to change. Especially when we talk about the areas of our life that we consider crucial for our survival. In this case, we refer to the ones on which our future salaries depend: work. It is an domain in people's lives which is characterized by being very structured and having a visible hierarchy as well as very set routines. In the work context, people do not choose who their workmates are, but they learn how to live with them. To a large extent, the success of the company will depend on whether its members are able to cooperate and work in harmony or not. Consequently, becoming the new employee can be a worrying experience at the very least; in particular, when, in addition to being the newcomer, you are the boss too. What guidelines can a boss follow to take on this mission successfully?
New managers usually arouse fear in staff. They are intruders who threaten to break with daily routine at work. They will be responsible for taking the decisions from then on and for deciding whether anything has to change or not. Soon, the rumors may spread: Who are they? Why did they become the boss? What is their hidden agenda? Are other changes coming after this one? Team members can react differently to their arrival. Some of them may give them a great welcome and try to earn their trust. Others may show themselves distant and distrustful. Some employees might even receive new bosses with indifference. In fact, their reactions can be as diverse as their personalities are.
New managers have to be prepared to face such a scenario successfully. Below, we offer a series of tips which newcomers can follow, not only for them to be in charge effectively, but for them to also become good leaders:
The arrival of a new boss usually generates confusion. Leaders should adapt to this situation and act accordingly. A common mistake, especially among inexperienced leaders, is to adopt a cold, authoritarian and distant attitude. That way, they consider that they will gain the respect of their subordinates. However, in a transitional period like this, soft skills may be more useful than the technical ones, since good leaders are also measured by the way they treat their teams. For example, being understanding and putting yourself in the shoes of another person, both from an emotional and rational perspective, is a virtue that is not only useful for getting to know the team better, but it also helps to develop great leadership skills, to advance in the achievement of the goals and to create a better work environment. On the other hand, transparency and authenticity are distinctive features which lead employees to recognizing a leader.
One of the first missions on which new bosses should embark is field study. They ought to know how to identify the different roles which are played by employees, figure out the strengths and weaknesses of the teams, discover their working methods, check if these methods are suitable, detect possible problems, etc. However, leaders also have to be willing to listen and learn, especially in the first months of their management. Maybe they have a long experience as bosses, but there are always aspects that can be improved. It is also important to keep in mind the fact that each organization is different, and that feedback may help them understand where they are and where they are going as well as enable them to get to know their team better. A good way to start is to organize a team meeting.
Before taking action, it is important to think things through; especially when making important decisions. At first, new managers might detect serious problems, but they should not get carried away by impulsivity. They have to find the root of the problem first, and they need time for it. Of course, it is not about avoiding the problem, but rather about stopping to think about it in order to discover which solution is the best. For example, before tackling structural problems, other simpler ones can be solved. On the other hand, when analyzing the team, they should not draw hasty conclusions or label employees. The more time bosses spend getting to know the team, the more they will benefit from this exchange.
Each person has different skills and competences. In some cases, the best asset managers have access to is their experience. Having led other teams, they are likely to keep composure and self-confidence better. However, they should not fall into the error of believing that the same solutions always work in different places. It is also common for model employees to become new bosses. Undoubtedly, their deep knowledge of the company will be their best asset, but they have to understand that they should not continue doing the same work. It is necessary that they learn to delegate and not overload themselves. It is also possible that new bosses have neither the experience nor the necessary knowledge of the company. In that case, they should use their soft skills. They can learn a lot from their subordinates, but they have to know how to set limits too. In other words, whatever the strengths of these bosses are, they will have to know how to take advantage of them without losing their balance.
A ship cannot dock at the port if the captain does not know which direction to take. Bosses not only have to be clear about where they want to go, they also have to know how to convey this idea to the team and motivate them so that they can work in this direction. If, from the beginning, they follow a steady course, they may end up embracing this goal. On the other hand, a good leader is also characterized by being a facilitator, rather than a controller. If the team understands that they can find the help they need to achieve this goal in their boss, the team is more likely to move in the right direction.
At the CEU IAM Business School, we offer an Advanced Program in Digitalization of the Strategic Management of Human Resources aimed at those professionals who are interested in getting to know the evolution of their function and also to all professionals who want to understand the impact of 2.0 tools in companies and how the new ways of managing people are also the new keys to success.