As leaders, we often see how things should be and strive to make it a reality. A vision is necessary. As are having a compass, “must haves” and BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). All are fundamental to providing us structure and space to innovate and accomplish cool things.
Now to 2020. Your team is working remotely while homeschooling their children during the pandemic. Or other countless scenarios of the norm of the day. Overwhelm and disruptions on a daily basis could be weighing them down. Others could be just fine with working from home and are isolating nicely. The possibility is that in an attempt to inspire your team to greater heights, you may not be meeting them where they are. Imagine being on a mountain-climbing expedition, and your guide, in his exuberance, is already a mile ahead of you on the climb while you’re still at basecamp packing your backpack. You might feel a bit frustrated, perhaps even angry and bitter, for signing up for this trip.
One way to find out if you and your team are in sync is to get to know them. Some humility and transparency are helpful when you are trying to motivate the hearts and minds of others. If you are not sure how to meet folks where they are because you have a lot on your plate and deadlines looming, consider these ideas about how you might slow down and allow your team to catch up:
Once you meet your team where they are, it will be easier for them to follow your lead. They will respond better to a challenge that stretches them and moves them toward your vision in a way that allows them to be with you, rather than a team that never leaves basecamp.
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
You’ve seen it scaling the walls of tall buildings. Scaffolding and its intricate latticework provide access to new heights for the people on the ground. While skilled, their talent lies dormant until they climb the rungs and apply that skill to the task at hand, one section at a time.
Scaffolding is a lot like the frameworks I use with my clients to help them see themselves as the leaders they need and want to be. These frameworks are designed to support learning in a way that has meaning and context while moving aspiring leaders into position to advance. Once the scaffolding is in place, then my clients begin to navigate the sections, filling out the form and function of the what, why and how of their learning and development.
The Four R’s
I refer to one of my “go-to” frameworks as The Four R’s. While not applicable to all executive and leadership development tactics, from what I’ve observed, experienced and studied, great leaders will exhibit a strong showing of each of the four R’s in some way. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean:
Consider what framework helps you orient yourself to your personal and professional development. How are you building competence and mastery in the Four R’s and is your team responding? Send me a note and let me know.
Relationships: Creating a Force for Good
August 18, 2018
Resilience: Flex and Bend Like Gumby
February 2, 2018
Leadership lessons and inspiration can be gained from everyday experiences, whether we are participating or observing. While not automatic, we can choose to look through the lens of inspiration, and that lens can move us to change and grow, or sometimes just keep going. Most recently, I was inspired by the run for the Stanley Cup by Nashville’s local NHL team, the Predators. Here are a few things that I took from the experience:
Certainly bringing the Cup home would have been an amazing end to this story, and yet we celebrate the Predators' demonstration of commitment, focus and integrity, as well as the great sense of fun that they brought to each game. Their best inspired the rest of community to be committed and bring our best. It wasn’t perfect, indeed, yet spectacularly successful none-the-less. It was a nearly ideal leadership experience, and was certainly inspiring enough to consider what worked well that could be applied in other work environments. How can you bring these lessons to your team?