New leaders need to be “strong, in-charge types” who let people know they are on the job. This is similar to the myth that leadership is for heroes. However, this one has an upside, just so long as the leader doesn’t believe it!
For example, my father was a 30 year Naval officer (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, etc.) and a great leader. He shared with me that whenever he took over a new command, he would look for the most inconsequential thing he could find. Usually it was the muster time (that’s the time everyone reports to the ship in the morning, for all y’all landlubbers). If the previous time was 6:30am, he’d change it to 7:00am. Or if it was 7:00am he’d change it to 6:30am. He really didn’t care about the time, he wanted to demonstrate to the command that there was someone new in charge who would be changing things. Then he took the time to get to know the department heads and assess the culture of the ship.
A Navy ship’s responsibilities don’t stop when the captain changes. Neither does a business or a church when they change leaders. Decisions still need to be made, operations must continue. Yet it takes time to lead well, time to know the people, time to see the challenges before the organization. Although “sudden leadership departures” due to death or firing or some other dire circumstance may seem to require an emergency triage of existing operations, even so, these need to be evaluated carefully before sweeping change can begin.
My father’s trick toned down the crew’s anxiety about change, established his authority, and gave him “breathing room” to do the true work of a new leader, not “taking charge,” but finding out how his people worked together and how best to lead them.