When I first took this job several years ago, I was one of the company’s youngest editors. As if that weren’t intimidating enough, I had a giant task ahead of me. During my interview, I secured the job by putting forth an ambitious strategic plan for the magazinean outline of where I wanted to see us go and how I was going to get us there. It was after I was hired that the warning flags started to fly: I was regaled with stories about how other new editors (or managers) had come in with grand ideas and subsequently seen a mass exodus of employees. After all, my new staff already seemed shell-shocked by all the changes coming their way. Meanwhile, my predecessor was beloved by her staff and colleagues. Needless to say, I had a lot to live up to. So it’s no surprise that I was, in a word, nervous.
Not that there’s anything wrong with nerves. They can drive you to work harder and prove yourself. And I did, starting slowly, getting to know my team, what they enjoy working on, where their grievances lay. I showed them my strategic plan and asked for their thoughts and input. And I rarely pulled the “boss” card.
I’d like to think my actions those first few months helped set the stage for a successful transition. After all, despite losing one employee due to job dissatisfaction, I’m happy to say that the majority of my staff is still intact.