1 Samuel 18:5 [MSG] Whatever Saul gave David to do, he did it and did it well. So well that Saul put him in charge of his military operations. Everybody, both the people in general and Saul’s servants, approved of and admired David’s leadership.
Understanding Your Position
When a new leader is brought into an organization he or she was brought in by the leadership for a specific purpose. No one gets into an organization without the head leaders approval. There is always a reason for adding someone to a team.There is always a reason when the team expands. The new leader must be very careful not to make the mistake of misunderstanding his or her purpose in the organization. The passion, vision, and purpose of the new leader must line up with the passion, vision, and purpose of the organization. The reason they were brought in was to help the organization fulfill the purpose specifically assigned to them. The first thing a new leader should do is survey the landscape. Surveying the landscape will allow the new leader to determine the pecking order within the organization. There is always a pecking order. Sometimes the pecking order is determined by the length of service and others it is determined by contributions to the organization. Now that the new leader has carved out the air space and established the air space now they must begin to fulfill the purpose they were brought in for. Hopefully the head leader has given a specific list of expectations and tasks for the new leader to follow through on. This is not always the case. Many times a new leader is brought in to a new position or follows an older team member that was not getting the purpose fulfilled. To get a clear understanding of position within the team it is suggested that the new leader approach the head leader and ask for a clear directive and purpose.
Brought In With a Purpose
The new leader is not brought onto the team by chance. He or she has been brought onto the team for a specific reason and purpose. Before that new leader was selected the head leader has already seen a need and purpose to add a new team member to the team. No one just gets a free ticket into the organization. Actually there are cases where privilege places someone in a leadership position within the team. The author calls this the “principle of princes”. The “principle of princes” defined simply means the head leader has a relative that they give a position to, not based on performance but by preference. With the exception to the “principle of princes” no unrelated new leader is brought without a specific set of expectations. There is always a reason when the team expands. The head leader will usually have a set of responsibilities that he or she will expect the new leader to accomplish. It is vital that the new leader stay focused on these responsibilities and fulfill the purpose he or she has been called to accomplish before he or she deviates.
Be Careful Not to Misunderstand The Purpose
One of the biggest mistakes a new leader can do when joining the organization is to misunderstand the purpose he or she has been called to accomplish and step on other team members toes. The passion, vision, and purpose of the new leader must line up with the passion, vision, and purpose of the organization. The head leader has a vision and purpose for the team and organization. He or she must trust the new leader to match the vision for the team and organization. This can only be done when the new leader understands his or her position within the organization. The key to understanding is open communication. If the new leader has questions they should ask them. If the new leader is unclear of the position and purpose they are called to fulfill they should ask for clarity. The goal is to accomplish the task that has been entrusted to them for the benefit of the team. By understanding position and purpose the new leader can soar.
Surveying the Landscape
The first thing that should be done when any new leader arrives in a new team is to survey the landscape. Surveying the landscape properly can save a lot of hurt and misunderstanding. Through surveying the landscape the new leader to determine the pecking order within the team. The pecking order is a very important part of the team. By understanding the pecking order the new leader can determine their position within the organization and team. Surveying will also help the new leader determine the way the pecking order has been established. If the pecking order is determined by length of service the new leader is going to have a harder time than if the pecking order is determined by contributions to the team and organization. Pecking orders that are determined by length of service are tough because no matter how the new leader contributes he or she will be low man on the totem pole until the old team members have moved on. The best thing for a new leader to in a length of service pecking order situation is to come alongside those higher in the pecking order. If the pecking order is determined by contributions to the team than the new leader has a better chance of breaking into the pecking order. Either way understanding the position that has been afforded to the new leader is vital to their future success.
Fulfilling the Purpose
The whole reason the new leader was brought into the organization was to fulfill a purpose. Now that the new leader has determined position, air space, and pecking orders he or she must get busy accomplishing the purpose set before them. If a clear and concise set of goal, responsibilities, and a purpose has been set before the new leader he or she should begin right away building their team within the organization. No purpose can be fulfilled without first building a team within the organization to ensure the purpose is fulfilled. The new leader has been given a mandate and now he or she must determine the who, what, how, and why. Many times the new leader follows an older team member who was not getting the purpose done and therefore they either moved themselves on or they were moved on. Just because there was someone before the new leader does not mean he or she should use the people and resources there alone. He or she must begin to build their team. If those who served on the team of the leader before want to stay onboard and align themselves with the passion, vision, and purpose of the new leader then let it be so. If there are those who wish to do it the former way they must be moved on in order to move forward. If the new leader is breaking into new territory and blazing new trails he or she must gather a group of trailblazers. No matter if the task has been done before or if it is has never been done the head leader has called upon the new leader to get the job done.
Get Clear Directives
Communication is so vital when anyone is joining a team. When a new leader joins a new team he or she must get his or her directives straight from the top. If there is no clear purpose given by the head leader the new leader should ask questions. In order for the new leader to understand his or her purpose he or she must have a clear and concise set of expectations and responsibilities. Open And honest communication with the head leader is of the utmost importance. If a new leader does not understand his or her purpose they can not fulfill it. There is an old saying is says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Failure to get a clear and concise purpose from the top will result in heavy stress and possible failure.When a clear and concise purpose is set before the new leader he or she can then set his or her heart on fulfilling the purpose and will have clear understanding. Understanding the position held within the team and organization will also help the new leader become an accepted part of the team and organization.
Life Lessons From the Author
Unfortunately, this author has made his share of mistakes concerning position. I was brought into an organization to lead the team whose main purpose was to educate elementary aged children. As soon as I arrived I started making comments concerning the condition of other departments within the team universal and organization as a whole. This was not the most intelligent thing to do for a young man or a new leader. You see there was a pecking order and I was at the bottom.As a new leader and fresh blood rather than focus solely on my mammoth task I decided to put my two cents worth where it was not needed or invited. I caused so much trouble for myself simply because I did not understand my position and purpose. I was not there to fix the overall organization. I was not there to govern other departments. I was not there to give opinions. I was invited by the head leader to come and lead the department whose main purpose was to educate elementary aged children. Even though I felt excellence had been thrown out the window and our organization was struggling to stay afloat I should have kept the main thing the main thing and committed myself to make my department the best it could be. After a few months of minding other’s business I finally caught on and began to mind my own business. I have to tell you it was the best thing that I could have done. I had enough challenges taking over for a seventy plus year old man who served in my position 18 years. The programs, materials, and overall department was in bad shape. When I focused on my purpose and stayed in my position I was able to bring the department to a new level. I was able to grow my leadership team and invest in my people. I grasped the pecking order concept and life became a lot easier when I realized I was not the savior of our organization I was just a team member called in to fulfill a purpose. I learned my lesson well and things went extremely smoother from that point forward.