If you’re taking on the leadership of a new team, or if you’re a newly appointed leader, there’s a tip I’d like to add to the three no-no’s for new leaders that I suggested here previously, in what turned out to be one of the most popular entries that this blog has seen since its launch in January 2007 (yes, it’s been that long). This tip is going to come in handy especially when you are altogether new to the team or, even better, new to the organization.
Here it is: Don’t lose your eyesight.
As a newcomer, your biggest asset is your clear eyesight and untainted canary (that internal compass that points you to things that aren’t right). With your fresh set of eyes, you will be able to see clearly all those respectful workplace issues and other problem dynamics that prevent your team from excelling and your stakeholders from getting the best service. Your sharp eyesight will show you where the team culture is skewed, where things are happening that should not be happening, how the work is affected by incivility, and where (maybe) respectful workplace is nothing but an empty phrase.
Like Hans Christian Andersen’s boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes, you will be able to question truisms and perceptions of reality, and along with that you will be well positioned to suggest new and better ways of doing things. Some prudence, of course, might come in handy. After all, not everybody likes it when the status-quo is challenged or a new Smart Alec appears in town, nor does everyone love workplace change (okay, that’s a bit of an understatement).
Your unobstructed eyesight and perceptive canary will lose their edge over time unless you diligently protect them from doing so. It’s simply human nature for this to happen. As you will get acclimatized, you will over time get inducted into the culture, lose your common sense and fresh judgment, and with it your ability to contribute a useful new perspective.
Happy New Year to you all – a year of great vision, on all fronts!
And as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch 🙂