Middle management crisis
I've been promoted to a new role and now have to manage a diverse team of staff of different ages. They've been there for a long time and I feel they resent me as a newcomer and also because of my relative young age. Management hired me to bring in some new ideas as the company has been on the decline in the past few years. Now that I'm on board, it seems I will be facing a steep uphill battle. How can I earn their respect and implement some changes?
Mark Enticott - Career Doctor
Posted Friday 25th October 2013 04:11:00 PM
Coming into a new company and managing people who have been in the business for many years is a difficult management task. Gaining respect, trust and getting them to buy into you as a manager is critical to your success in this role. The first thing I would suggest is not to make changes too quickly. I would recommend that you observe what is happening in the team over a number of months. Also spend time with each person in the team and get a detailed understanding about their personality, their motivations and where their career is at. As part of this meeting you should also ask a lot of questions about what is working well, what frustrates them about the team and the business, and if they were the manager of the team what would be three things that they would change. It is also important that you talk about your management style, key aspects of your role and how you plan to add value to each of them. This meeting should provide detailed information about each person and if there are common issues within the team. The second important step is demonstrating to the team that you can add value, and that you are there to help and develop them. How you do this will depend on the nature of the job. Ultimately if you are adding value to a person's day to day role and helping them with their career, this will help you gain their trust and buy in. The third critical factor is how you communicate changes; very important. You need to plan out why the changes needs to happen and how this will benefit the business and individuals in the team. Depending on the situation, I would recommend that you sit down with key people in the team (maybe the more senior individuals; people that have been with the business longer or people who have the ability to influence other team members) and talk through the change, ask them for their feedback and ensure you have their buy in. The way you conduct this meeting is critical to ensure you gain their support to the change. Finally, some of the key aspects of management is about leading by example, respecting your team, sharing ideas, coaching / developing people and having clear and transparent communication.