You finally made it. You are sitting sweet in the C-suite ready to rock the company results, but if you want your first few days to be a hit rather than a disaster, Cheryl Hyatt of Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search says starting out on the right foot is critical. While many of these may strike you at first (they did me) as obvious, the "duh" factor is greatly reduced by the fact that so many CEOs and C-suite executives get them wrong right from the get-go. Hyatt highlights these three important don'ts.
Don't be late.
Staff pay very close attention to the time management habits of their bosses, so showing your new team that promptness is an important value starts with your showing up on time. Not an earth-shattering recommendation you say? Consider the fact that a recent "State of the Modern Meeting" report found that nearly 60 percent of all business meetings are delayed, with CEOs, CTOs and company founders being the worst offenders.
Don't engage in gossip.
It's natural for your new co-workers to want to fill you in on the juicy goings-on around the office, but beware -- engaging in even the appearance of gossip can brand you as a bad boss. In an article titled "Passing the Word: Toward a Model of Gossip and Power in the Workplace," authors Nancy Kurland and Lisa Hope Pelled proffered that workplace gossip can have serious negative consequences including:
- Corrosion of trust
- Reduced productivity
- Increase in silos and side taking
- Damaged reputations and hurt feelings
- Loss of good employees due to a poor work environment
Gossip is bad enough when it comes from a co-worker, but when the boss is the one beating the drum, it makes it even doubly so. If you are tempted to become part of the grapevine, stop and instead pivot the conversation in a more productive direction.
Don't suggest major improvements.
The number one mistake I've seen in more than 25 years of management and marketing consulting? Bosses who come in on their very first day all guns ablaze and then genuinely wonder why their staff seem shell shocked and panicked. "Your first days should be about listening and observing," says Hyatt. Yes, your fresh set of eyeballs may see a policy that needs changing, a process requiring a tweak, or a cultural issue to be addressed, but at the start you lack the credibility and trust it takes to change it. The best leaders allow plenty of time to soak up the culture and take in the big picture.
Oh, and while you are at it, don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether finding out where the best salad can be found for lunch or seeking out some clarity on your team's priorities, asking, rather than telling, will give the message that you care as much about others' point of view as your own -- and that's the start of a beautiful relationship.