Two rules that must be followed before being promoted.

two rules

The hardest day a leader, manager, or supervisor will ever have is the first day in their new position. On the first day, the supervisor comes in with grandiose ideas how they will be the “leader” and transformer of individuals in the group into a “team” that beats all existing records. They will develop a spirit of collaboration and camaraderie that everyone in the organization will want to join. Other leaders with lesser ability will clamor to your office to know the secrets of ultimate team building and success. For most this is a dream. Unbeknownst to most new supervisors, the stage has already been set for failure because they did not do two critical steps to lay the foundation for their success.

Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up to fix the problems. The foundation for success begins when the supervisor does some introspection and determines what is truly important to them as a person. This is extremely difficult for most people, because they are afraid of what they will find when they examine their inner self. For example, you may realize you are truly not a “people person”. You can decide to work on that skill, or develop other approaches to make effective connections to the individuals who now work for you. But you learned a critical lesson about yourself and can now work around the problem to make connections. Effective leaders make connections to their teams on the one to one level. They are authentic about themselves and what they want to accomplish. Supervisors create goals that they believe should be reached, but never make the deep down connections at the individual level.

If you inherent an effective team, or group in need of development, you are starting from scratch. The existing effective team may instantly dissolve when you arrive. Again, you must make the connection at the individual level that you are someone to willingly follow. People will do what you tell them to do because you are their boss. The supervisor who uses this hard power is “pulling” the people to his or her goals. You have the power to reward or discipline them. People will go the extra mile for people they believe will help them, and are looking out for them. These people are “following” their leader to a goal that benefits everyone. Teams are effective, when the team is focused on a goal, and striving to reach it. If you are a bad supervisor your individuals may form up as a “team” to get rid of you. When you are a “leader” and people follow you, and your goals are aligned with the organizations goals, then as a team, you are benefitting the organization.

The second myth and mistake new supervisor make when they are first promotes is not coming in with a set of rules everyone must follow. That sounds counter intuitive to come in with a set of rules when you want to develop a team. Think about the statement in a different way. When you come in with a set of rules for people to follow you are setting the table of expectations. You are setting the stage for success by letting people know not only the sport you are playing, but the field you are playing on, and rules that must be followed. By developing a set of rules and setting down what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior you are creating the foundation for success. When you come in trying to build camaraderie and say, “we will make it up as we go” you have just made a fatal mistake for you becoming a leader. As situations arise you have not set foundation for your decision making. Your individual’s, notice I did not say team, will be always be wondering what is and is not acceptable. They will push the limits because they do not know what the boundaries are. You will become angry because the individuals are breaking your nonexistent rules. By trying to be friendly and not setting down rules you are in fact going to make it hard to create a team. In fact you will create a dysfunctional atmosphere because your individuals do not know what to expect from you, the supervisor. By first setting your rules down, and consistently following them, you can then develop a sense of acceptable behavior with consequences for rule breaking. Then, you can start developing team norms that are developed and agreed upon by your team.

The first day as a supervisor is always the hardest. The dream of the position now meets reality. By understanding two simple rules you can significantly improve your chances of success. First, determine what is important to you. Second, setting rules and standards for people to follow, you are now setting the foundation for success and building a highly effective team.

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Riding The Roller Coaster Of Business Change

 

 

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While recently attending a conference at the Washington D.C. Head Quarts of SHRM, I saw an interesting curve that is used to implement change. The instructor was 100% accurate that implementing change means ending something. Then people enter an area called the “neutral zone” and finally with success a new beginning.

 Well, another way to look at it is from the perspective of a rider on a roller coaster. Some roller coasters are tall and long and others are short and quick; however, all of them have the same physical mechanisms in common from start to end. Now, let’s entwine business change into the picture. Initially, the management team determines there is a business case for change. It may be caused by unexpected changes in the environment, where you change or face major financial problems. The needs assessment is where you begin your case for change and your organization, and employees, enter the queue for the roller coaster ride.  While going through the queue your organizations leadership should begin to meet with key stake holders and employees to set out the business case for change. Why is this necessary? Why deviate from the normal base line?
 A leadership team creates a story line that sets out the realities of the situation, what it will take to change, and how the organization will look like when it is all over. They create an image that sticks showing what success will look like. They inspire and make people believe the change is necessary and they will get through it as a team; they help create the small and fast roller coaster ride. Management teams set out as a matter of fact the need for change. They show the facts and people will see the need to change. Management teams explain the process of change in systematic ways so people know what to expect. The management teams roller coasters are higher, longer, and create more fear because the inclusive story is not there. The hero’s story, the saving of a company, or taking it to the next level, for people to cheer and believe in is not present.

During the queue, the better the business case is laid the better chance for acceptance and success. Once the case had been made, and change is about to begin, everyone sits in their seats, buckles up, and gets ready for the ride. Everyone will have some level of trepidation and beginning the journey. The end is at hand and a new beginning is starting. As the train leaves the station, there are fewer and fewer chances to stop. As the train goes higher on the lift, the processes of change begin to pick up. The senior staff has to continue to sell the ideas, reassure the weak hearted, and increase the on-board of employees to the changes occurring around them.

 At the top of the lift there is no turning back. This is the part of most danger. How far the train goes down, or if it will come back up, is in direct relation to your thinking out the need for change, the process, and keeping people on-board. While riding down the lift many things will happen. Everyone will feel a high level of emotions. Some will feel terrified and stuck motionless in their seats. Others will feel exhilaration and throw their hands in the air. Others will simply look down and hold on for the ride. Going down, organizational structures are moved around, some may be sold off. People may be transferred, have new bosses, or jobs changed in mid stream. As things continue to change, people will wonder if things will ever get better; when will it start going back up? Your preparation was the key for people to see when they reach the bottom of the hill.  Once at the bottom of the hill, no roller coaster immediately goes back up. It will stay there short period burning off kinetic energy. This burning of energy slowly allows the organization to finish putting everything back into place. Emotional states of employees begin to subside. New business units begin to solidify. How long you spend at this level is also in direct correlation to your business change preparation before entering the queue.
 As solidification occurs in subset business units, the upward pull of potential energy starts to kick in. Even though the overall speeds are slowing, as must happen through the laws of physics, the change of potential energy back to change energy (kinetic) throws everyone back into their seats. The business is taking back off and headed skyward. As more systems start to work the higher the organization will go; however, it will never go as high as the initial power of ending the previous systems and preparing for change needed to impact the organization. As everything begins to fully function it will slowly even out and people will become accustomed to the new organizational model. Through the changes a new normal base line had been established over the old base line.

Changing an organization is like riding a roller coaster. The more compelling the need for change, preparation for change, and knowing what the end results will look like. Go a long way to making the roller coaster ride short and enjoyable rather than long and terrifying.