The Manager by Design blog seeks to provide great people management tips and awesome team management tips. The focus of the blog is on management, but the question is – what is the difference between leadership and management? There are hundreds of great books on leadership, and there are many resources that work to delineate the difference between managing and leading. For there purposes of this blog, here is the model I have that demonstrates the difference between managing a leading.
Let’s take a look at the model:
In this model, I’ve put out a grid that puts managing on the x-axis and leading on the y-axis to demonstrate their inter-relationships and where they separate.
In the lower left quadrant (“Individual Producer”), you have a role that requires neither managing nor leading. I call it the individual producer. If that individual producer produces something (analyses, a product, a sale), then that person has done her job, and is doing well at the job. This person is neither managing nor leading, but still producing, and contributing. Every organization needs lots of this!
When you are a manager, one of the things that you are responsible is the ongoing improvement of your team and how it operates.
Now, with that expectation set, are you tracking the “change events” that account for and assess this?
Change happens on a team and in a group all the time. In fact, it happens so often that it is easy to lose track of all of the change that is happening.
Here are sample “change events” that could constitute change on your team:
- A new person or joins the team or someone leaves the team (or many people join or leave the team)
- A new budget is implemented
- Your organization or your team launches a strategy
- There is a process improvement or process change
- There is a change in scope of work
- A new project starts or an old project ends
- There is a new environment or element to the work environment (change in office space or new equipment)
Some of this change is instigated by the manager, and some of it is implemented by external events, either from above or by the passage of time. It’s all change, and it needs to be understood as such.
So the first task of understanding change is to track these events. If you don’t do it as a manager, perhaps someone on your team can track these events. Having these change events documented and tracked creates a better understanding of what your team is handling.
So here are some suggesting things to track for your team change:
- Item number
- Source of change
- Change description
- Initial date of learning of change
- Expected positive impact
- Expected negative impact
- Who is responsible for delivering the change
- Who is involved
- Change plan location
- Change implementation / assessment date
Here’s what it may look like on a spreadsheet
|Item Number||Change description||Source of change||Initial Date of learning of change||Expected positive impact||Expected negative impact||Who is responsible for delivering change||Who is involved||Change plan location||Change implementation / assessment date|
|1||Marci leaves||Marci||6/1/2011||Opportunity to identify emerging team needs and hire to it||Lose Marci’s skill set||Manager hiring||Manager, HR, Team Members||Hiring process site||7/1/2011 (replacement hired) 12/1/2011 (up to speed)|
|2||New quality assurance program||Manager initiated||3/1/2010 (kick off of implementation)||Improved quality||Resistance/inertia of prior system, less efficiency||Alex||All team and partner teams||Team site : projects||12/1/2011 (program implemented) 3/1/2011 (assess quality)|
In my previous article, I describe the importance of not attacking a change agent, but instead taking steps to manage the change, not the change agent. Many managers receive “feedback” that is resistance to change, and then turn around and give that feedback to the change agents, implying that the manager doesn’t actually want the change agent to instigate the change.
The first five steps to this were: 1. Listen 2. Document the issue 3. Track the issues. 4. Delay in responding to them 5. Look at the issues as a team.
Today, I provide tips on what to do next:
6. Communicate your findings – the more targeted the better
You typically know the source of the resistance/complaint. You tracked it, right? Now you can respond directly to that person. Explain what you did (discussed it as a team) and what you plan to do (keep going with the change, most likely). I am not a fan of communicating broadly the list of concerns and the responses, because it is somewhat akin to public feedback. By communicating broadly, you are trying to adjust the thinking for a specific person via communicating with a broad group. This creates unintended consequence of changing the broad group’s thinking when it isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s better to circle back to the person who expressed the concern in the first place. If there is a network of people who believe the same thing, that person then gets to address the results.
Many managers are in the position of instigating and overseeing change on the team, with the intent that this change improves how things are done and obtains better results.
But managers can quickly fall into the trap of resisting the change they instigated by reacting negatively to the ramifications of change, and seeking to eliminate all resistances (a.k.a., complaints) to the change.
They do this by treating incoming complaints of the change agent as a performance feedback opportunity to the change agent. This implies that the change can occur and without resistance and essentially undermines the change effort. This is a wrong assumption – it’s like assuming that there is no resistance when you start a car and move forward.
So here’s what to do when someone on your team resists change:
Allow the person to hear out the person’s issues with the change. The only action is to listen to the issues or complaints that the person has. Instead of responding to the issue, listen to the issue. Say, “Thank you for expressing your concerns.” Add some empathy, “I understand that this can be difficult.”
2. Track the concerns
To prove that you are listening, actually write down the concerns. Write them down in front of the person expressing them. Tell them that you are writing them down. Say, “I appreciate your taking the time to express these concerns. I’m going to make sure I have your concerns tracked, is that O.K.?”
3. Put the concerns in a central location
You probably aren’t the only one receiving complaints. Upon the first complaint, this is your clue that there may be more. Find a place for others on your team to document them. Put them in the same place.