Dealing with leadership ‘residue’ (what the former boss left you)

How critical are your first days as a new manager? I would venture to say extremely critical. One thing almost every new manager has to deal with is “leadership residue;” that is the leadership hurdles left by the past leader for you to now handle.

It most likely will go one of two ways.

If the manager that preceded you was awesome, you will be faced with, “He/she was a great boss and I don’t know how we will make it without them, they knew everything and everyone.”

Or, you could be faced with, “We are so happy that manager is gone, we could really use a break from bad leaders, we have had a streakof those lately.”

I have worked with, and coached, managers during their first 90 days on the job, and that time is so important to setting your individualized leadership tone.

New bossHaving the opportunity to assist them to integrate and practice a few effective tools and techniques has helped build stronger relationships with employees and create more collaborative atmospheres.

How can the first 90 days in your new position help minimize leadership residue? There are a few key things you can do to start charting your own path as a leader and building trust with your employees:

  1. Get to know your employees: Take the time to get to know your employees and what they would like from a leader. How have their experiences framed those expectations from leadership?
  2. Find out what they need: While communicating with the employees, find out at least three things that could make their workplace experience better or improved.
  3. Commit to doing something: Be honest with employees and share with them what you plan to do and the timeline you are working with.
  4. Keep your promises: If you commit to doing something new, different, or improved within the office, do it and attempt to do it in a timely manner.
  5. Practice transparency: Keep everyone informed as progress is made and allow for feedback and time to make adjustments based upon employee input.

Marcia K. Thompson, Esq., is Vice President at ADR Vantage, Inc. She has more than 20 years of experience working in corporate and public sector positions that have helped to transform and create collaborative environments for employees at all levels. Visit