Q: I have recently been recruited for a mid-managerial position with a large property management firm in the Southwest. Given that I’m an outsider, I’m concerned about how to build good rapport with the supervisors reporting to me, some of whom undoubtedly think they should have been offered my job. How do I go about winning their respect and allegiance?
A: Begin by recognizing two important facts:
- Your supervisors know a great deal about their individual areas. You need their expertise to do your job effectively.
- From top management’s point of view, you must have better big-picture skills than any of your subordinates, otherwise the firm would have promoted one of them instead of hiring you.
By exhibiting a keen awareness that you and the supervisors need each other, you’ll achieve an important first step toward gaining their loyalty and respect. Of course, some of them will resent you for taking the position they wanted. But they’re likely to support your efforts if you ask for their input on important decisions.
Unless it’s critical to business survival, don’t spearhead any major changes for three to six months. Instead, get together with each of your supervisors to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of his or her area and options for improvement.
Develop a master plan for your division, using both top management’s and the supervisors’ input. Then refine the plan with your key people before introducing it to everyone. Getting your staff’s advice on how to proceed is not only politically astute, it’s also a smart management technique for building a winning team.
Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979, which works with individual and corporate clients in career change; job search; executive, small business and life coaching; college major selection and talent management.
“One of the smartest minds in the career field,” according to Tony Lee (VP of CareerCast Operations at Adicio and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Online Vertical Network), Besson began writing for the Dallas Times Herald in the early 80s. Having read several of her columns, Lee asked her to contribute regular articles to the Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) as well. Since then, she has been a triple award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and Senior Columnist for CareerCast.com, as well as WorkingWoman.com and Oxygen.com. At Lee’s request, Besson authored five editions of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and three of its Premier Guide to Cover Letters. She has also written articles and/or been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money and Yahoo among others.
Taunee has worked on community nonprofit boards and committees for over 30 years including Girls Inc., Women’s Center of Dallas, Girl Scouts and Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Volunteers of America and Mortarboard, among others. She was a member of the Leadership Dallas in 1987 and Leadership America in 2003.
In 1994, the Dallas Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development chose her as its “Professional of the Year”. Her NBEW columns were selected for the “Ten Best Article Award” in 1990, 1994 and 1997. In 1999, Alpha Gamma Delta, a 200,000 member fraternal organization, named her as one of three “Distinguished Citizens” at its biannual international convention.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.