I was brought in to shake up the team and inspire innovation. To say it’s been difficult is an understatement. The rank and file are totally resistant and I don’t feel management has my back. I’m afraid I’m going to fail. What should I do? R.M., Dallas, TX
The problem with being brought in to change things is that often those who need to be “changed” are unaware that they need to adjust their behavior. What has management done to explain your role and the need for it? Have they made it clear that they expect the staff will “play ball”? If they’ve not done these things, you’re right—you will fail.
Talk to management now. Lay out what you need to be successful. Offer to set up the meeting with your team so management can explain why they brought you in. Think through what needs to be covered and if management doesn’t mention something, make sure you do.
After the meeting, talk with your team members individually and be clear that you value them and need their help to achieve your mission. Ask for their feedback. Start fresh and let go of any resentments you may have developed. It’s natural for people to resist change and it’s likely your actions were perceived as criticism. With expectations clear and management backing you, you are set up for success.
And if you discover that management is not prepared to support you appropriately, it’s time to move on.