Most of us are so excited when we take on a new leadership role. We’re convinced that we’ve got the goods to make change happen. So, we tie on our capes and fly off to save the day. Because that’s why we were hired or promoted in the first place, right? To improve things. Well, that maybe the truth, but it’s never the whole truth.
When entering a new role, it’s natural to see ourselves as agents of change. To somehow exceed the expectations of those around us and to prove that we are different from, and perhaps better than, our predecessor. Often, we misinterpret other’s perception as a desire for change, rather than what it truly is – a hyper-awareness that things could change. The whole truth is that very little could change, and that may be the best course of action.
Tips to Guide Change
Leaders often step into their new role and want to start “fixing” what their predecessor did. Perhaps the desire to “fix” the situation comes from a need to reaffirm their hiring or to cement their authority to make changes. Or perhaps, it’s a matter of establishing their brand or putting their stamp on the company. But before you jump in and enact “change for the sake of change,” I suggest that you consider the following recommendations to fully understand your new role so that you can determine where change would be beneficial.
Without buy-in and support, it’s impossible to execute change in a manner that is not catastrophic, in some way, to the organization. You achieve that support by doing the work required to understand better the challenges you are presented with. Just initiating “change for the sake of change” is often unsustainable, counter-productive, and ironically can result in you taking a few laps on a hamster wheel.
Few of us intentionally set out on a course to make “change for the sake of change.” The best way to make sure that we don’t fall into that trap, as leaders, is to tune into our purpose and intentions for making decisions.
Are you struggling with organizational change? Send me a note.
Set Priorities and Eliminate a Few Spinning Plates
April 22, 2019
Relationships are complicated, right? So let’s break this down a bit. Working relationships are not so much about whether we go out to dinner together after the workday, but more about mutual commitment. If you and I are committed to each other, we are more likely to support each other, hold each other accountable and pull in the same direction to accomplish our goals. Trusted relationships can become a powerful force for good in an organization, as more people moving together in the same direction will get there fast. People pulling and pushing against one another will never get there at all. I need you, and you need me, to be successful.
The single most important relationship-building tool is frequent and honest two-way conversation. Great leaders insist on a regular and honest exchange of information and teach their team members also to insist on it. Without this exchange, the conversations that aren’t had, those missed conversations, become an invisible dark force that inhibits relationships.
Imagine all of the conversations that you would need to have with a colleague on a cross-functional project. When the two of you come together, each with expertise in your respective functional area, you have to transcend your expertise and complete something larger than both of you. Combining your skills, personalities, behaviors, approaches and knowledge for the greater good of a successful project can be a feat that would challenge the Yoda in all of us. A large dose of conversation is the secret ingredient to achieve something that is magical and effective.
In order to develop a great working relationship, you have to be committed to staying in conversation with someone even when the going gets tough - even when you show up in your functional cape and forget your team wardrobe. Committing to each other’s success in order for the relationship to work means someone might have to give more at times than the other. Sometimes you have to adapt behavior to show up in a way that invites participation from the other. Sometimes it means being willing to apologize when you don’t uphold your commitments.
Use the force of two-way conversations and mutual commitment. Learn how to build strong working relationships where success belongs to everyone involved.