The Counsellor: How do I get across to my team?
I am working as a business development head in a marketing & advertising company and I joined primarily to establish the BD and sales team and structure to drive growth. My new role, which is all of 4 months old now, requires me to lead a team of 6 members, of which, 4 are members who have been associated with the company much longer than I. While I have got complete empowerment from the management team, I feel my effectiveness is getting affected because I am not able to convince the team of the new incentive structure. The team has been used to a major chunk of their salary being fixed pay and therefore, they are more comfortable with a salary appraisal and are unable to see the benefits of the incremental gain they can get from the incentive system. I also hear from others in the company that the team is quite disappointed with me for trying to change the structure. Please advice what is the best way to get across to my team.
Making a change in the fixed salary, being the large proportion of total compensation, to a new structure of compensation, wherein a larger portion is apparently linked to performance, is a major change management exercise.
Looks like you are new to the role. I guess you have yet to receive the confidence of your people and also establish your own credibility. Under such circumstances, to make a major change that has ramification on the compensation of the people, without a well-crafted change management plan, is certainly undesirable.
For any change to sail through with little resistance, several ingredients/prerequisites are necessary. Some of them are illustrated below:
1) The leader who is initiating and front ending the change must have a high level of credibility, confidence and acceptance from amongst the people
2) There must be an excellent business case, supported by excellent communication strategy
3) There has to be a win for the people and the same should be well understood and accepted by the people
4) A major change such as this has to be well thought out and orchestrated.
While you enjoy the confidence of your management, which is apparent from the empowerment that you have received, looks like you do not enjoy the confidence of your team. A good leader is the one who has empathy towards his/her team, is supportive, well connected with people, and is able to motivate the team. You do not seem to have your team aligned to you. In spite of the best of intentions, without the credibility and the emotional connect, it is very difficult to lead a change of high magnitude.
I will suggest that you establish the necessary dialog with the team, establish good relationships, understand your team and figure out what is not likely to work and what will? Once you know your people well and have established the bondage, you will figure out when and how to introduce the change of this large magnitude. Take help of your HR team who can also facilitate the process.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this, he was based at Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region.
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