Help! I’m too corporate for my team

My last blog Help! My manager is too corporate for my team resonated with quite a few of you working in the third sector.

This post takes the perspective of a recruit from the corporate sector. Joining the sector from elsewhere can be a bewildering experience, so here are my four golden rules for avoiding culture clash.

1. Highlight shared values

OK, so you have ten years experience in corporate sales and marketing and your team are all born and bred in the third sector, but don’t forget to show your team why you are there in the first place. Your backgrounds might be different, but your values are the same. You all want to create something bigger and better in the world and bring value to users. So, let your staff know how passionate you are about what you do, and that you want to use your unique skills and talents to contribute, just like them.

2. Consult whenever you can

On the whole, third sector staff are used to being involved in decision-making. ‘Having a say’ is one of the perks of working in the voluntary sector where more traditional benefits are lacking. These organisations tend to have flattish structures in which decisions are made more democratically. Your staff are also likely to be highly experienced experts in their field. They will not want decisions being made over their heads, so go for consensual agreement whenever you can.

3. Look and learn

I’m sure you won’t go in all guns blazing, wanting to change things straightway. That’s a sure-fire way to alienate people and it could be exactly what your new team is expecting and fearing most. Instead, take opportunities to listen, watch and learn about the way things are currently done from your team. You’ll have good ideas, but they will too. If you do want to introduce changes, you’re more likely to have your team on board if you’ve been willing to learn from them, too.

4.  Share information with your team

As in the corporate sector, good communication is highly valued. Consider sharing more than you might have in the corporate world where information tends to be released on a ‘need to know’ basis. By sharing information freely and openly you are building trust and mutual respect between you and your team.

If your think coaching or training could help you and your staff deal with culture issues in your organisation contact me here.

For more tips and ideas on getting the best out of your third sector staff follow @katieduckworth on twitter

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