I’m a new manager who was hired from outside the company. The previous manager was well liked, but let go because he did not accomplish stated company goals. Staff resent me and blame me for his termination. Would you give me with some advice on how to win them over?
You are in a challenging situation. Unfortunately, many employees view you as an outsider who ousted their favored manager. Frankly, they really don’t care about whether he accomplished company goals or not. (In fact, this is likely why he was so popular.)
The best way to change the tide of public opinion is to get involved with your staff members. Here are 6 tips to help you succeed:
- Avoid immediate changes. Instead, spend time with employees learning what they do and why they do it. Apply what you learn to your ultimate goals.
- Ask questions – lots of them! Ask them how, what, when, and who about all that they do. Ask also about what works well, and what doesn’t. And then ask why, multiple times, to reach the root reason.
- Ask for recommendations to improve. Once you’ve learned where current processes fall short, or are ineffective or inefficient, ask the people doing the job how they think it could be done better.
- Make them feel smart. As you get ideas for how to improve and achieve company goals, involve appropriate staff members in fleshing out the idea. Be sure to let upper management know how your staff contributed to the idea.
- If you are directly challenged by any of the current staff, be polite yet firm in your responses. If you waffle when you are new, you will have trouble regaining respect later.
- Don’t say or do anything reckless or foolish. Some of your staff may be trying to test your patience and their new boundaries. They may wrongly believe that if they can get you out, the old favorite will be returned. Your job is to maintain the high ground as you work through this transition time.
The good news is that over time things will change. If you are fair, consistent, and firm you will gain respect. The trouble makers will die down or leave on their own.