A memo to newly hired leaders

Throughout my practice in managing people in fast-growing organizations, I have seen how teams are built, company cultures shaped and transformed. 

One of the most common hires that are made on the scale-up stage is a VP, C-level hire, someone who had already successfully built something that we are about to build with our young organization. 

Because “a young” organization means – “a young team.” Therefore, no track record and experience in building great big companies yet. 

While there are many advantages of bringing expertise like that, there are also problems attached to that. 

I want to focus on only one of them today. 

Onboarding a new leader is usually a time when things go wrong. Those first months are critical for future success. This is the time when bonding is built, and a base for the early results is shaped. 

There were so many times that I have seen new leaders trying to change things right away: bring new processes, shape new teams, restructure the metrics and analytics, in a few words – making things better ASAP.

From the social point of view, this can be very harmful to the team, and as a result, to the whole organization. 

As a coach and a Talent Manager, I have been helping leaders accommodate themselves in their new teams while bringing results fast. 

What helps the most? Building trust in the first place! As soon as we can establish trust in the new group and when our team members feel safe around us, when they know we came in to help, not compete with them, we can count on them as our partners. As soon as we make sure to value what they have done in the organization, instead of criticizing their mistakes, we can become their partners. 

There is a term in social psychology that helps us understand why exactly this is important. 

🌿Idiosyncrasy credit is a concept that describes an individual’s capacity to deviate from group expectations acceptably. Idiosyncrasy credits are increased each time an individual conforms to a group’s expectations and decreases each time an individual deviates from a group’s expectations. 

🌿 This means, when we join a new team, we first have to make sure we fit in, build trust and follow this group’s expectations. And the better we do it, the better we can bring the change and oppose the status quo. 

🌿 This is my message to the leaders and managers who are hired to bring transformation, who are brought to shape the future through change. Don’t forget to acknowledge the team you are coming to work with. People are usually much more open to change when they trust the leader who is driving it. 

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: