Listen First, then Act, During Succession

Management successions occur every day in organizations around the world. These range from promotions to first level supervisors to appointments of new CEOs.

A person who is new in the job and immediately proclaims, “This is how it’s going to be now” will face resistance on multiple levels, while the person who steps in and listens will be received quite differently.

People who enter new positions and think they know it all, have the perfect solutions to every problem, and resist learning from others, are destined to frustration and stress.

One of the goals of the transition period (including onboarding, when someone new joins your organization from the outside) is to listen, observe, ask questions, and design a plan for the months ahead. Once you have done these things, act on your plan.

One challenge occurs when a mid-level manager is promoted into an executive position in an organization where she has been employed. This kind of ascension can come with bias and predisposition, especially if the person already has a strong point of view of how things should be run.

But upon entering the executive role, it’s even more important to listen and observe, that is, to see the organization from the fresh eyes of the new position. If this person isn’t flexible and open-minded, his myopic view may close the door to opportunities that are right in front of him.

These attributes reflect a solid foundation of emotional intelligence. Remember that the higher you rise in an organization, the more important emotional intelligence becomes.

The goal is to be flexible: to bend enough to hear and understand, but to stand firm to ensure that decisions are aligned with organizational goals. And, if you’d like to know more about how to improve your emotional intelligence, feel free to email me and I’ll be happy to get back to you.

Header image by Cottonbro Studio/Pexels.

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