Leading looks easy enough until you actually to step into the role. Without the proper development, mentoring and onboarding, new leaders often fall into four common traps that contribute to costly mistakes. This post is about the four traps that trip new leaders, and what to do instead.
New managers often align downward because it’s the path of least resistance. Downward alignment happens when leaders support, collude and collaborate with subordinates instead of aligning with executive strategies. For example, there’s pressure from the C-suite to institute a new policy and the manager knows their employees won’t agree. Therefore, they tell their employees something like, “I don’t agree with this decision but …”
Downward alignment also sneaks up slowly and happens when the leader needs support or a sounding board.Here’s why: It’s tempting to vent to a subordinate who used to be a peer and a friend. The new leader forgets that the subordinate is also good friends with other employees. But, sharing private information with subordinates instigates gossip and hearsay, often resulting in departmental drama or even unwanted turnover. (Does it really take a white paper or statistics from Gallup to understand that a leader who instigates gossip is costly to the organization?)
What to do: Provide mentors for new supervisors. Explain the dangers of downward alignment and help them identify examples of downward alignment. Teach new managers to bring their concerns up the chain instead of downward.