Archive for July, 2010

You’re in charge: how do you tell your former peers?

I recently met a woman who was promoted from within an organization that had gone leaderless for a very long time. They had been managed from two levels up, had gone through a series of temporary managers from other departments, and were in continuous triage mode. Finally a new department head was selected from outside and after a 6 month selection process selected her from within. She was now in charge of a branch which was filled with some very interesting characters including a peer with 10 more years of experience in the field than her and a new hire who was changing careers but had a lot of prior leadership experience, both had competed for the position.

What now? The woman was faced with subordinates who had no purpose, direction, or motivation and two employees who thought they should be in charge. So how does she establish her authority and begin to develop a team?

One way I have seen this problem successfully handled was for the new manager meet with each individual and discuss expectations Both people can explain what they expect of each other and the new supervisor can explain the behaviors they reward and punish, and the leadership philosophy of the new manager. Once the meeting is over put in writing what both sides expect.

The managers expectations will be the standard to which all are held. The employees expectations give the new manager a chance to gain some insight into how the employees think. These discussions are the beginning of the bigger job for the manager of developing their leadership philosophy and providing the department a purpose, direction and motivation they will need to succeed.

What are methods you have seen work for the new manager who must start by establishing their authority in the workplace?

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Making the transition from Led to Leader

Welcome to my first blog! I have decided to lend my voice to the very crowded leadership field, with a focus on the NEW Leader. My purpose is to help new supervisors and managers make a quick and effective transition from led to leader. I have seen the situation many times; the person that is highly competent in their technical field, is promoted to a leadership position, and failed. Why did they fail? Were they stupid? Did they get lazy? No, they were never told that the promotion was a move from their chosen technical field to the new and entirely different specialty of being a leader.

I had my first leadership assignment being in charge of the pizza tossing station in the kitchen of a local bar, me and one other guy at the bottom of the food chain (literally and figuratively), but I was in charge, and boy did I screw that up. That was my first lesson that heavy handed techniques will only get you so far, and that I needed to learn the strengths and weaknesses of my employees. Not bad for a week long assignment.

Since then I have led many different groups from the cashiers at a large retail chain to a platoon in the United States Army, groups from 2 to 120. I have also gained more formal education, earning a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from the University of Nevada, Reno and working on my MBA from the same. During the course of my education I learned how to articulate the things that have been going on around me for years. I want to use this experience and education to help new supervisors and new managers become leaders in the shortest possible time, increasing their effectiveness and making the transition from led to leader easier.

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