I have written several articles on the topic of leadership. People are very reluctant to take on leadership roles for many reasons. John F. Kennedy said, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." The number one reason is FEAR. There is a learning experience that will always lend an opportunity to develop and improve leadership, teambuilding, and communication skills. Following a good leader is easier than succeeding a bad leader because there are no messes to clean up, no wrongs to right, or points to prove- all you have to do is carry the torch. Here are 4 ways to keep the torch burning:
- Ask your predecessor to be your mentor.
If the previous leadership was good, ask your predecessor to mentor you. Learn some of their techniques and get valuable feedback from your own actions.
- Mimic their actions and behavior.
Repetition is the highest form of flattery. Mimic the behavior of the previous leader. Communicate in the same manner that they did, recognize members of the team in the same way, or have team meetings as often as before. People who are used to the previous leadership will conform more quickly to the new leadership if they recognize similar habits.
- Don't fix what isn't broken.
The old say, 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it" is very true. Why change a policy or procedure if it worked well? Work on improving things that need modification. For example, if team members are frequently late to the regular meeting times, think about changing the date or time.
- Retain the previous leader's expertise. Ask them to be a part of a committee (ex officio if necessary) or be a consultant to your team.
Even though the previous leader has stepped down or declined to take the lead again, ask them to work on a committee as an ex officio member. You and the team would still benefit from the presence of the former leader and the transition of leadership would be easier for you and the members.
Look for the next article that will discuss ways to follow bad leadership.