Andreas Vetr

Change the Leader and you Change the Organization

When the Leaders Change, the Organization Shakes: Navigating Leadership Transitions

Yesterday, I received a call from a coachee who was facing a challenging situation at work. The company had recently undergone a leadership change, and a new leader with a dominant and autocratic style had been promoted from within. This leader was known for being strong-willed, directive, and lacking empathy. This change had already led to one team member quitting due to the new tone and way of doing things.

My coachee, a diligent and empathetic individual, reached out to me for support on how to navigate this situation. She cared deeply about the well-being of her colleagues and was concerned about losing valuable team members. The company, which mainly employed Gen Z and millennial, was known for its modern approach and inclusive culture. The combination of an autocratic leader and a workforce seeking modern leadership seemed like a clash waiting to happen.

In our discussion, we delved deeper into the character of the new leader. It became evident that the shareholders had repeatedly promoted him over the years, and he had a successful career path within the organization. However, the coachee believed that his lack of empathy and authoritarian approach would not resonate well with the team. She was worried about the negative impact on morale and the potential loss of talented individuals.

Understanding the New Leader’s Aspirations and Goals

Rather than confronting the new leader head-on with resistance, I advised the coachee to take a different approach. I suggested that she may try to understand the aspirations and goals of the new boss. By gaining insight into what the leader and the shareholders hoped to achieve, she could align her actions and communication accordingly.

This strategy served several purposes. First, it would provide her with a clear understanding of the leader’s direction and enable her to communicate the goals to the team. By doing so, she could support the leader’s objectives and help bridge the gap between the leader and the employees. After all, behind every successful person, there are always individuals who enable their success.

Becoming the Translator and Supporter

My coachee had the potential to become a crucial figure in the success of the new leader, the people and the entire organization. By translating the strategy and vision of the leader to the team, she could convey the leader’s strengths and weaknesses. Dominant individuals often struggle to effectively communicate their ideas, relying on logic and reasoning rather than emotional or empathetic appeals.

As the connecting possibility between the leader and the employees, my coachee had the opportunity to play a pivotal role. By understanding the leader’s goals and ambitions, she could gain his trust and become a trusted advisor. This would allow her to provide valuable feedback and constructive criticism in the future, as effective leaders appreciate opposition when it comes from someone they trust.

Supporting Growth and Success

In growing organizations, dominant leaders have often shown success in the past. By supporting the new leader’s goals and effectively communicating them to the team, my coachee could contribute to the overall success of the organization. This approach would allow her to maintain respect from all parties involved while enabling career growth for her colleagues and supporting the goals of the shareholders.

Moreover, by taking this approach, my coachee would not be risking her own job as she would if she were to confront the leader with opposition and resistance in the first place. Instead, she would be positioned as a valuable asset, someone who could help the leader navigate challenges and achieve success. This approach would not only benefit her career but also contribute to the growth and well-being of the entire organization.

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how this particular case unfolds. It serves as a reminder that when leaders change, organizations often experience turbulence. However, with the right strategies and approaches, individuals like my coachee have the potential to shape the outcome and foster a positive and productive environment during times of transition.

Andreas Vetr

Leave commends and your ideas on the topic or start a discussion! I am curious how you would have dealt with the case.   

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Andreas Vetr at ISG Personalmanagement GmbH, Universitätsring 14, 1010 Wien.

ISG IK Dan. Ltd. Maslak, Beybigiz Plaza, Floor 15 Address: Beybi Giz Plaza Kat 15 Maslak/Istanbul Email: OfficeTurkey@isg.com Phone: +90 212 970 20 66

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