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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

How should a new leader get out of his predecessor's shadow?

Hindustan Times   March 15, 2012
First Published: 01:01 IST(15/3/2012) | Last Updated: 01:03 IST(15/3/2012)

New leaders face comparisons with predecessors. These comparisons give way to judgments about their performance and expectations gets placed on the leader's shoulders. This results in leaders falling into the trap of cloning themselves by emulating their predecessor. The important factor for a new leader is to create a smooth transition that is based on differential style in the first three to six months of their  tenure. This change can be undertaken by articulating the  beliefs they have, setting an agenda and action plan. It is important to take calculated risks to prove their calibre. New Leaders must connect with their people. They should work closely with their senior management to build trust. This will help them to establish their own leadership style, different from their predecessor. (Kumar Parakala, partner and COO, KPMG Advisory -India.)

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New leaders will face comparisons with predecessors. After a short time these comparisons usually give way to judgements about the leader's performance. Occasionally, the presence of the predecessor continues to be felt. The influence of predecessors can be blatant or subtle; positive or negative. A new leader must learn to manage this presence. As a new incumbent in a leadership role, you should state within a reasonable period of time what will remain the same as before and what will change.  Believe in your employees and build the new network of your relationships in the company. Be open to criticism and always take feedback from your employees and customers as this provides new ideas, which you can always incorporate in the business. (Harkirat Singh, MD, Woodland.)


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