Recently, I was working with a team that thought they hated each other. The manager asked me to help bring them together. The individuals on the team were diverse and communicated very differently. Each of them were talented at what they did but the needed to work together to make impact. A few of them were introverted and preferred working alone. Slowly, they learned to respect their differences and accept the behaviors that irritated them, but there was one thing left. One of the team spoke disrespectfully to others and often to the manager. Everyone pretended it didn’t happen. They’d just stop talking. As a leader, you get the behavior you tolerate. Once the manager pushed back on these comments (using productive language, for example “I don’t feel comfortable with what you just said to me”), the dynamics started to change. The biggest difference between Manager/Director and a Do-er/SME is that you must confront when necessary. It’s hard because in your earlier roles you worked hard to collaborate. It is your job to TEACH your team now. Confronting appropriately is a critical part of TEACH.
Here are some activities you can invest in to grow your leadership in this middle position:
- Join one or more outside peer groups. Seek the leadership advice of people outside your work team.
- Remind yourself to ‘sharpen the saw’. How are you going to grow your leadership like you have grown your functional expertise?
- Volunteer to manage somewhere – church, soccer, etc. Use that as your practice field.
- Drive accountability and confront as needed.
- Scope out the expertise you must keep up to date and begin to move away from what you don’t need anymore.
- Leverage your peer managers / directors as your team.
- Learn more about vendor management and financial projections to prepare for the next level of management.
- Grow the person who will replace you so you can move up.
Here are some things that you should not do:
- Avoid confrontation at meetings. Confronting happens in private.
- Be bossy and demanding or be unavailable.
- Push work to your team, and do not take it from them.
- Learn how to support your team without being a member of the team.
Consider bringing in the RMA IT Leadership Bootcamp workshop. In this experiential workshop, each team member will complete a Trimetrix EQ diagnostic instrument and a 360 assessment. Management leaders will work with each other in simulations and case studies to build their own leadership priorities and careers. Our expert facilitator will lead you through experiences that provoke you to see your real leadership self, creating awareness of the strengths and opportunities that can either support staying where you are or moving up.