I took on a new role recently. The position was earlier held by a person with charismatic leadership style. His teams, customers, peers, bosses, everyone around him seem to be magnetised by his presence. He is extroverted and has a very good communication style. My personality and leadership style is a stark contrast to this person. I am more grounded, introverted, reflect before I speak and like to lead from the front. While I have nothing against the previous person/ style, people around me are getting disappointed by who I am and how I lead. What can I do differently to be accepted and regarded? ~ Senior leader, E-commerce
Each leader brings their uniqueness with themselves. No two leadership styles are identical. Contrasting leadership styles create the "Just Noticeable Difference" in the perception of stakeholders. So sometimes the new leader might find it hard to alter perceptions of 'who a great leader is' with a team that has got used to a certain style.
So if you are leader who discovers that they are taking a role from a person with contrasting leadership styles, below are food for thought:
Time is a great leveller
As much as you are getting used to your ecosystem, the ecosystem is also getting used to you.
Give them some time to get used to you and your different style. They may find something that you do better than the last incumbent. Trust builds with time on precedents.
2. Show interest/listen
Show interest in the people around you.
Ask their opinion, listen to them.
Let them be themselves most of the time.
The more authentic they are in your presence, the better receptive they becomes to who you are and what you have to say.
Most people like to work for a leader who makes them feel seen and heard.
3. Notice what is right
It's easy to find fault with an existing setup when taking over.
However, statistically, every ecosystem will have something that is working well.
Pay attention to things that are going well.
4. Include people in formulating your new vision
The only visions that turn into reality are the ones that people believe is theirs.
While you bring a fresh perspective, let your teams co-create the vision with you.
Being included is always inspiring.
5. Hone your ability to work with other styles
Each individual comes with your own preference of style. Hone your ability to work with a diversity of styles.
That comes with an understanding of the varying needs and values of people.
Observe people, learn from them. In case of doubt, ask them how they like to be supported?
Build trust one day at a time in a way that you can walk your talk.
What helps you in taking over roles that had larger than life leader before you?