Clear strategies for new leaders

Here’s a post worth reading from Amanda Brooker at imaginasium.com on the clear strategies you need to focus on when you’re a new leader:

Coming on board as the new leader of an organisation is both overwhelming and full of opportunity. Overwhelming because people with self-interests will be pounding at your door for attention while you’re still learning about the organization. Full of opportunity because you can move your newfound organisation forward.

Your to-do list is long and you need to prioritise. At the top of your list should be internal communication. Why? As a new leader, focusing inward first will align your organisation with its business strategy and help lead to business growth.

Get to know your staff

Your first priority is to get to know your employees and build trust. Whether you have a staff of 10 or 100,000, face-to-face communication should be a priority. Lockheed Martin CEO and president Marilyn Hewson spent her first year visiting customers, investors and analysts, and reaching out to 60,000 employees. Look at this endeavour as an investment in the company, not a waste of time.

Remember the adage that we were given two ears and one mouth? The key to success in meeting staff is to remember that communication is a two-way street. As a new leader, listening should be a priority. Take notes, look for patterns and work with your leadership team and frontline employees to solve problems.

Build a culture of clear communication and transparency

Make it a priority to do a communications audit. At the very least, you need to review:

  • How and what gets shared with employees, and if the current dissemination is effective. Talking to your frontline staff will give you a solid idea of where you need to take communication.
  • How transparent are your organization’s communications efforts? If the current communications efforts focus on a “need-to-know” basis, that needs to change. With millennials taking over the workforce, there will be an increasing demand for transparency.
  • How well do all employees understand the culture and values of the organization? Be clear in sharing the company’s goals and vision. Help employees understand how they fit in.

Get senior management on the same page

As a new leader, you may find that a communications misalignment doesn’t come from employees’ direct supervisors, but from senior management itself.

The Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor, an annual global study, shows a causal link between leadership perceptions and consumer spending. The perception of poor leadership led 61 percent of respondents to either stop purchasing or purchase less of a company’s products in the past 12 months.

Make sure senior management is clear on the company strategy, “walking the talk,” and delivering the same message to staff.

Bringing on new leadership means there is a high chance an organisation’s culture will fall out of alignment. By listening, communicating clearly and transparently, and aligning your senior management team, you begin building an engaged workforce. And that, research shows, leads to higher customer engagement and revenue.

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