You see it all the time. A top-level executive goes from one organization to another, and takes a prominent position at the new company. They bring a wealth of experience in business management to their jobs, but they haven't worked a day at that new company. Now, imagine working in middle-management or even as an end user for five, 10 or 20 years. You know everything there is to know about the business you work for. All of a sudden, someone with no experience at that particular organization is telling you what to do. How do you handle that?
This sentiment might be shared by your employees when you bring someone from the outside to take an executive or senior management role. It's imperative that whoever you bring in can quickly reverse that mindset and command respect from their employees. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your employees respect their new leader:
Find people with relevant experience: This sounds like a no-brainer, but it doesn't always happen. Some executives might think they can run any company, regardless of the market or industry. That results in someone essentially changing careers as they go from managing a company in one industry to one in another. This can cause some to question their credibility and industry expertise.
Find people with success working with other people: Tech firms are constantly bringing in executives and senior managers from other companies in the industry, and they typically focus on their tangible accomplishments. For example, you might see a new tech company attempting to build a smartphone go out and bring someone who worked on the iPhone at Apple. These accomplishments can command respect, but it's best to focus on someone who possesses the people skills needed to communicate with their new team. Establishing this connection with these people will ultimately alleviate any potential friction.
Consider your needs when evaluating demographics: Ultimately, you want to find the best people, regardless of their personal characteristics. But what type of person are you really looking for? Moreover, what type of person will earn the trust and respect they need from their employees? Do you want a younger executive who worked their way up the corporate ladder quickly and has the potential to continue to grow with their new company? Or does their age and early success indicate they will leave for another job in a short period of time, meaning you're better off with an older executive who might want to settle into one place as they finish their career? It depends on your specific needs, which must be thoroughly reviewed before you begin the executive search process.
Working with an executive search firm will help.