Remember those early days managing your first team? Perhaps supervising one or two people? Maybe winning a hard fought promotion over a department? A small percentage of us will have been provided with formal training, others gently eased into the role supported either by management or the outgoing leader. Sweet!
For the rest of us mortals, introduction to the task at hand was delivered with the beauty, skill and grace similar to that seen in a Tom & Jerry cartoon when the Frying Pan makes its first entrance….and the hits kept coming!
It was about ‘month 4’ for me when I thought “Why the hell did I fight to get this job??” A few years later and things tend to settle down for the majority moving from knowing to owning the role.
In my Leadership workshop this week, the room was filled with experienced 1st line managers from a variety of functions and companies. Interestingly they had in common an element in their team who didn’t seem to take any initiative, reluctant (if at all) to accept accountability, people who seemed to have the term ‘dead cat bounce’ written just for them.
In discussions, it was clear everything had been thrown at the cause to make change! However on this occasion we had the benefit of the analysis available from the latest iteration of the unique platform we use in Sandler. Using these results we could replay the words used by one manager (I will call him ‘Bob’ (it’s always a ‘Bob’ isn’t it!)) as heard by the employee.
Behaviors ‘Bob’ used when making decisions sounded great to him, used the same for many years but the analysis showed the following was being perceived:
“He’s very careful with his decisions. He does not want to plunge into the unknown; he usually makes good, very restrained and traditional decisions. In insecure surroundings, he is not a neither good nor brave decision maker.
- Helps rather than makes decisions
- Makes sure of all possible outcomes first
- Delays as long as possible
No need to call for ‘Sherlock’, rigor mortis had already set in! Have you heard the term “Analysis Paralysis?” Without analysis, Bob’s management style would continue for years. The report identified way too much focus in his decision-making style on:
- Providing very detailed instructions
- Correcting own decisions until they are perfect
- Providing very detailed instructions on how to follow the existing processes
- ZERO on Inspiring others to overcome their fears and become excited
In Bob’s case, here are just three initiatives to help bring out the best in his team:
- Try to talk about opportunities without talking about threats at the same time
- Don’t dwell on small problems if the larger goals will be achieved
- Be careful not to interfere with every detail – otherwise you cannot control the big picture
Our own leadership styles often create more work and problems within our reports. For example a fearless, gung-ho style can also create the same performance shortfalls but require a very different fix.
Speak to your Sandler agent about the analysis available. not expensive, very quick to implement and might save years of hammering square pegs into round holes.