Dear Aunty B,
I was recently appointed to a senior role in a large company to improve results.
I made a number of changes that have affected the troops and made me quite unpopular. I expected that.
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But now the hard decisions have been made I expected things to improve with the staff. But it hasn’t.
In fact, I feel uncomfortable even going to the cafeteria. I organised a team building night at the local bowls but I always have the feeling they are just tolerating me and when I went home early apparently the evening kicked on.
I don’t need to be Ms Popular but I would like my staff to not grimace when I walk into the room!
Leadership is not a popularity contest. So who cares if you feel uncomfortable in the cafeteria! Eat somewhere else. And of course they want the boss to leave before they let their hair down.
What you really want though is their respect. Staff that don’t respect you will find ways to sabotage the future and either they end up moving on or you do. How do you get their respect?
Make sure they clearly know the strategy and you communicate often with them. Always use words like “we” and “us”; competitors are “copy cats”, “bastards” or potential acquisitions. Pick leaders within your business and make sure they have clear career plans and feel they are progressing under you. Talk to the staff about their wins and the success of the business so they clearly feel a part of it.
Don’t keep rubbing the turnaround in their faces – after all, they were part of the old regime. Outline the future so they can understand their part in it and the importance of their cooperation.
And feel grateful you don’t have to eat in the cafeteria.
Your Aunty B
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