New Planning Director
Dear Management Doctor:
What do you do if you're replacing a beloved (well respected) Planning Director who is retiring after a long tenure. How do you make the staff 'your own.' What should the tenor of that first staff meeting be like?
That's a great question, but one that is not easy to answer. Each situation will be a bit different. However, here are a few tips:
Come on emailers. Share your stories of success and where you fell on your face.
The Management Doctor
Last year I had the opportunity to manage a different division of our department for a period of 9 months (while still managing the division for which I was responsible) as our department searched for a replacement manager. Because I knew the other division's staff (and had participated in hiring most of them) and had, for a number of years, managed that part of the department, I has some pretty strong ideas about how to make things work better. I'm glad I didn't act on my initial impulse; if I had, I would have likely been seen not as the white knight riding to save the day, but the black night riding in to pillage and other awful things. So, at the first staff meeting I asked the staff what expectations they had of me. That first meeting was very revealing as it showed me what they admired about their previous manager, and what they wished that previous manager had been willing to do differently. At the next staff meeting we discussed what I could do to meet their expectations and what I had in mind for them to meet some of mine. Those two meetings resulted in some positive changes and a much more balanced management of both divisions on my part. Mostly though, it led in my opinion, to a bridge of time that allowed the permanent replacement manager to successfully assume her management of the division.
Michael A. Harper, FAICP