by Susan Cramm

Readers Questions Answered: The Challenges of Job Transitions

Feb 01, 20072 mins

Managing stress, accounting for failure and escaping technology.

After reading her column Five Steps in Successfully Transitioning to a New Job, readers posed questions for executive coach Susan Cramm about the challenge of starting a new job.

Q: The most stressful aspect of a transition is dealing with the expectations of direct reports. What tips do you have for building credibility with them?

A: People want to be respected and valued. They want to work for someone who cares about them, is competent and has vision. Jump-start strong relationships by taking the time to get to know your staff—their goals, backgrounds, job challenges, passions and ideas. Demonstrate your understanding by removing barriers to make their jobs easier. Respecting the past is also key to building credibility. Many executives commit the faux pas of criticizing the past. Doing so dishonors those whom they need to engage in the future.

Q: You say research shows a 40 percent to 50 percent failure rate for newly appointed leaders. Why is that?

A: Success in leadership roles depends on relationships and knowledge of the organization and industry. Most organizations don’t have support systems to facilitate the transition process. For new employees, the lack of relationships and credibility combined with an unfamiliarity with the corporate culture, sources of power and informal networks make the transition period treacherous, even for executives with strong track records.

Q: Can you offer me suggestions for how to move from technical lead to CIO? I have worked in IT for 15 years. I have a master’s degree in technology management and computer science.

A: IT professionals with your qualifications are in demand. But skilled professionals can be sidelined because of issues with building relationships, delivering on commitments and building teams. Career counseling will help you understand your motivators, values and goals, and will enable you to plan an approach to accelerate your progress.

Susan Cramm is founder and president of Valuedance, an executive coaching firm in San Clemente, Calif.

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