In the call center, turnover is a KPI that receives a lot of attention. However, turnover runs through all positions, and so leadership can also change through the usual turnover. Regardless, the stage a company is in may require a change in leadership. The development of a company in its start-up phase may require a different type of leader than a subsequent growth or maturity phase.
When the leadership of a team, department or executive team changes, it usually creates a new dynamic among employees. The workforce asks itself how things are going to continue, and in very few cases do things simply continue as before. A change in management is often associated with uncertainty and fear, because the job is at stake, and for many it represents an important center of their lives.
A change in management is therefore often met with mistrust from employees, and under certain circumstances it represents an interruption of cherished habits. Under the previous leader, people know what to look for, what the expectations and priorities are, and how best to interact. With a change in leadership, an unknown comes into play.
To face the challenges involved, it makes sense to examine why the change in leadership occurred. The change can have many reasons, such as
– the previous boss retires
– the supervisor changes departments
– a colleague has risen to the position of supervisor
– the former boss has been dismissed and a new one is to turn the company around
The different starting positions have an impact on the mood in the team and on the expectations of the new boss. When someone retires, it is usually known in advance and the employees can adjust to the change. The situation is different when there is an unexpected change in leadership. The new boss then often comes in as a reorganizer who is supposed to turn things around. This threatens more drastic measures and changes.
At this point, it can make sense to temporarily deploy an interim manager to pave the way for a new supervisor or to help the company find a suitable candidate in the first place.
With the new boss, the proverbial „new wind“ usually blows into the company. Old rope relationships and assessments of past performance no longer apply or can even become a problem. Those who were considered particularly loyal to their previous boss may now fear being taken into clannish custody and also ending up on a hit list.
In addition, employees have to come to terms with new methods and a different management style. Processes are reorganized, teams are put together differently. In order not to fall into blind actionism, external support can also be offered to accompany the process professionally.
Last but not least, the personality of the new boss also has an influence on the mood among employees and their performance. Is he interested in a good working relationship and does he value the employees‘ performance? How does he communicate when he expresses criticism or passes on information? Does he take the time to get to know his employees personally? etc.
A new supervisor, if he communicates transparently, will say in his inaugural speech or in later conversations what his expectations are for the position and for working with his employees.
Employees want their new boss to have a good first impression of them. This means that they want to stand out positively, especially during the first interview. The first interview is often like a small job interview, for which the employees prepare themselves accordingly. This gives the new supervisor the opportunity to find out something about the person and his or her tasks in the company.
New boss, new luck? That may well be the case. Perhaps one or the other employee did not like the management style of the previous boss. Or new priorities are set or new areas of responsibility are opened up, allowing employees to prove themselves and present themselves as top performers, thus giving the company additional momentum. So it’s also an opportunity to discuss ideas with the new boss that have not yet received attention. It is precisely in such an initial phase that innovations are possible.
Of course, a change in management does not always have to be positive. Sometimes things just don’t work out with the new boss. In this case, employees quickly put out feelers for something new. Applying for a new position from within an existing employment relationship seems better than waiting until you are laid off. Especially in such a situation, it is again worthwhile to keep an eye on fluctuation in order to be able to react quickly to such a development.
Felix Prömel – Principal