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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 47Adjust to Accommodate New Employees

As your career proceeds, you will sometimes find yourself with one or more new direct reports because (a) they are new hires or incoming transferees, or (b) you are the new manager of an existing team. In these cases, who should adjust to whom?

Many managers believe that their subordinates should do all (or almost all) the adjusting. That approach creates a relationship and a culture fundamentally based on power. How important will that make people feel? How likely is it they will perceive that manager as someone who cares about them? When managers base their influence on power rather than legitimacy, they create limitations on their own effectiveness, diminish employee loyalty, and undermine retention. That is not a great way to begin a relationship. And it is not the kind of culture the best managers create.

In the ideal culture, the manager and all team members should be open to making adjustments when people join the team in any capacity—whether they are new to the organization or transferring from another department. Blunt honesty about the company culture and the team culture help set the stage for this kind of willingness to adjust. As a manager, you should also do your best to clarify your own biases, values, expectations, and management style. These are the places in which, for very good reasons, you may be less willing or able to adjust. You should invite the same kind of blunt honesty from people you are selecting for ...

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