One of the few consistent aspects in life is change, especially in the business of sports. From personal experience, across 12 years of working in professional sports, all with the San Diego Padres, there have been numerous changes, especially within our leadership; new ownership, three different team Presidents, and five different Vice Presidents of Ticket Sales. Given my experience in this area, below are five pieces of advice of how to deal with a change in leadership.
Without the correct mindset the tips below are superfluous. If you approach a leadership change with a negative mindset, and not a positive or growth mindset, the transition will be very difficult. You must realize that change is not inherently bad. This may be difficult if the person leaving the leadership role was someone you admired. However, it’s important to realize that new beginnings mean new opportunities.
Change creates opportunity. If you are not a top performer at the time of a leadership transition, you have a new opportunity to start fresh and rewrite your story. If you are a top performer at a time of transition new doors can open. New people from the outside will have an information gap to institutional knowledge. Those with that knowledge can be a huge asset to the new regime. The new regime will also be looking to make an impact and want to institute new ideas. Maybe that idea you had previously will be received differently, or with a new voice, can be adjusted and improved. In times of change do what others are not willing to do or aren’t capable of doing and new opportunities will open.
While leadership change is inevitable it does not mean that the transition will be easy. Be understanding that there will be bumps in the road. Do not be so quick to judgement and don’t expect perfection. Think back to when you stepped into something new. Did you do everything perfect? Did you make mistakes? When mistakes were made did you find them easier to overcome in a culture of support and understanding or of judgement and rejection? This is not to say be okay with all shortcomings but pick which hill to die on. Be empathetic, be supportive, and add to the culture.
If you are reading this article and are an active participant in theClubhouse® that likely means you are in a leadership position or aspire to be. That means you have a voice amongst your peers and have the ability to make an impact. Periods of transition are ripe with ambiguity. Ambiguity can be filled with paranoia and negativity. If you have a voice, you have a choice. Will you stir things up by participating in gossip, or will you add to the culture? Take it from me, you want to add to the positivity of the culture and avoid the gossip and paranoia.
With new leaders comes new philosophies and tactics. This means you will have a new opportunity learn. As you develop as a leader it’s important you take aspects from your superiors and create a melting pot of what your leadership style will be. One of the best pieces of advice given to me was to write down what my leaders did well and didn’t do well and learn from their actions. This exercise was helpful in developing my philosophies as a leader and how I acted on them. Learning from transitions before me, both the positive and negative aspects, allowed me to better prepare for my change.