It was a triumphal procession that made history. In 1815, when Napoleon returned from Elba for another 100 days of leadership he would not have thought when and how it will end. He wasn’t prepared for it.
However, it’s not necessary to pity Napoleon. And those days are long gone. But what we can do is take his story as a stimulation for our approach on new leadership tasks. We collected 7 ways for you to build a leadership that will last for many more than 100 years.
1. Meet expectations in an offensive way
A change in the leadership rows always brings along an attractiveness which is nearly magic. Any hopes and wishes are revealed, increased by curios expectations of what might and what will come next. If you are the new leader in town, meet those expectations actively. Ask the employees about them, find out what their interests, hopes and individual aims are.
2. Develop key relations
Have a close look at your new environment – Who is able to support your new position? Who is crucial for you having success? This might be your line manager, a secret competitor, customers, predecessors or colleagues and employees. Step up to them, take away their fears, uncertainties and possible retention and work on those relationships.
3. Analyse the point of departure
To know and understand a situation is basic for making right decisions and for displaying the right behaviour. Of course, a complete and detailed analyses before you have to make your first decisions won’t be possible. But really put some work in getting to know as many different perspectives and details about your new environment as possible. That means the corporate culture, current topics and challenges, actuel problems the company or the team has and also the resources and knowledge available in your team.
4. Be inspirational and motivational
„If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.“ – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Employees want to have a concept which brings them forward and makes them proud. Draw a picture of the future with a concept just like that. That will strengthen the employees’ commitment to you and the upcoming tasks. While doing so, take care for a good balance between steadiness and change – too fast changes may create an environment of fear and descouragement.
5. Initiate change in an effective and sustainable way
If you begin to plan and control all at once you risk to fail given this huge challence. Rather start with certain key aspects. Identify those aspects togehter with your team and take them as a starting point for stey-by-step change and progress. „Small wins, large gains“ is the device.
6. Make use of symbols and rituals
Symbols and rituals create credibility, point out important messages and support the change process. Avoid any symbols you know from other companies, even if they worked out good for you there. It’s important to have a close look at your new environment again to find out what might work there, what your employees need and what they like.
7. Encourage a positive environment of change
Last but not least, this is the part to start with. A positive environment of change will be the base for all above mentioned steps. Meet you employees with respect and approval for their achievements, event if you do not (yet) believe in them. Welcome skepticism beause it might contain valuable hints about possible barriers. And do not try to be the optimist everybody waited for – this puts all the others in the position of the pessimist, and you really don’t need pessimists in your new team.