Leaders, we’ve all had that person on our team who was once a leader and is now a follower on our team. They may have changed industries, jobs or intentionally taken a step back. Anyway it happened they are now on our team and we know that they were leaders in their previous jobs.
How do we handle this? It can often seem a bit scary because we may question our own leadership when confronted with someone who was a previous leader especially if they are high energy leaders!
First, acknowledge that they are a leader! Don’t ignore it, or try to ‘put them in their place’. Next get them on your side! Seek their input, get them involved in leadership of the team and other team members!
Essentially USE THEM to your advantage. Trying to ignore it, or making them feel small will only demean your own leadership!
There maybe times when you have to provide them with negative feedback. This can be scary if you are not confident in your own leadership. Seek feedback from other leaders prior to speaking with them and then talk with them as another leader. Leaders should always be seeking feedback both negative and positive!
Provide the feedback by letting them know the issue and then asking them for their input. Don’t talk at them, instead of saying “you messed up and the client is mad” ask for their feedback. Let them know you received feedback that the client isn’t happy with a current situation. Ask how they would handle this in the future. My guess is that they know they messed up and they have already beat themselves up over it.
Asking them how they would handle it in the future will allow them to know that you trust them and will not undermine them as leaders.
It is never easy when leading other leaders, but you can do it! And it will make you a better leader!