Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

When New Leaders Make Changes Too Soon…

A potential disaster is waiting to happen.

Looking back over my career, many of the worst leadership disasters I’ve encountered, happened when a leader stepped into a new situation and tried to make changes too quickly. The changes may have been needed, but they simply happened too soon. In almost every case, the leader didn’t allow enough time to establish a relationship with the team, didn’t fully understand the existing culture, and didn’t realize just how difficult “change” was for most people.

Smarter and more experienced leaders take their time. They allow a period to break the ice, let relationships grow, and build trust with the team. In so many words, they make the effort to win the team over to their way of thinking.

Only after that, do they start making significant changes.

So if you’re stepping into leadership in a new situation, take your time. Have a little patience and learn the people, the chemistry, and the culture.

You can fight it out, or build trust.

It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

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  1. You’ve got that right, Phil. I worked for one ministry that hired a new COO who had no experience in our niche ministry field… actually no experience in ministry at all. After about 6 weeks the management team came in one day to find letters on our desks asking for our resignation, saying if we resigned immediately we would get severance, otherwise all bets were off. Several resigned. I did not. For the next three years I had a target on my back, even though I had a good relationship with the President. I was marginalized, demoted and finally fired. Unfortunately the COO didn’t do his homework and my employee jacket was full of accusations that were lies and half truths. When the new HR person reviewed my file, the President offered me a full year severance plus medical benefits. It took another two years for the COO to be asked to move on.

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