Here Today, but Gone Tomorrow?

What happens when a leader steps into an executive/administrative/managerial position that has been characterized by a high turnover rate?

Those serving under him or her assume that the new leader will only be there for a short time before moving on to a higher-pay, higher-status position.  That perception makes it very difficult for the leader to stimulate buy-in from the team members, making it very difficult to lead them.

Some leaders in this type of situation try to dissolve that perception by announcing, “I know that there has been a lot of turnover in this position, but I want to assure you that I intend to be here for a long time.”  In most cases, however, team members have heard that same statement said by a leader who exited soon afterwards, so you can’t expect to have any credibility in making the same claim.

The best way to handle this challenging situation?  Your referent power.  Engaging each team member, voicing and demonstrating your appreciation and support of that person’s work makes that team member want to buy-in, follow you, and begin hoping that you will stay there a long time.

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