How to Manage Changes in Leadership -

How to Manage Changes in Leadership


By Denise Larcade, CSM, CSPO, LSSGB, Prosci

Whether a leader of a company abruptly leaves or a new leader is brought in, changes in leadership effect the entire organization. Today I am sharing some tips so you are well-equipped to handle these changes or make your own changes if necessary.

When a leader of a company leaves, there can be a domino effect of more people leaving the organization as well. The question is, what causes people to leave? Individuals ‘follow the leader’ either because the leader has left and then reached out to pull the individual along to their new venture or the individual has reached out to their former leader to identify an opportunity that may be better than the unknown they are left in.

Before you ‘follow the leader,’ you need to weigh your options to make sure you’re making the best choice. Here are some items to consider:

  • Are there facts that support the leader’s reason for departure?
  • Is your departure the right personal decision for you and your family?
  • Are you leaving your current position for a position you know is equal to or better than your current position?

If your answers to these questions were a quick yes, yes, yes, then ‘following the leader’ might just be the right decision for you. Regardless of your answers, you should also consider compensation and vacation/paid time off when deciding to make the transition to a new company. Oftentimes, you may be starting at the bottom, which could outweigh the benefit of being on the same team as your former mentor, boss, or supervisor.

On the other side of this coin, what happens when a new leader emerges? New leadership changes the dynamic of a company, from the c-suite on down. While you may be nervous about your new leader, remember that change may not happen immediately. New leaders should first engage with the business and determine what needs to change and what the priority is for making changes.

If you’re worried about the changes a new leader may bring, keep in mind that the circumstances by which the new leadership was placed can play a factor in how big or small the change ends up being.

For example, if the leader is replacing his or her former mentor who is retiring, the result could be little change. On the other hand, if the new leadership comes into position to help fix the company’s declining performance, you can usually expect big change.

So what does this mean for you? Change can be good and many positive impacts can result from change. A new leader will likely create a supporting structure in order to accomplish changes successfully. Moreover, a leader is seeking a team that supports their change initiatives. Supporting leadership and being part of the change says a lot about you to your leaders.

A leader will also identify who or what is in the way of successfully achieving a change goal or initiative. If you are a road block to the change process, you could end up with more change than you anticipated. If you don’t agree with the change initiatives or goals presented by the new leadership, it may be time for you to look elsewhere.

Of course, remember that ‘elsewhere’ likely comes with additional change, so no matter the circumstance, it’s important to weigh your options when deciding whether or not to make a change yourself.

What are some of the best ways you have found to handle changes in leadership?

About the Author: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to one of KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

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