Have you ever been driving down the highway or a road that you travel pretty frequently, and one day you say to yourself, something looks different about this particular building, something is missing here, this part of the road looks more open, etc.?
After further review, it comes to you that a building was torn down. A set of trees were cut down, a building was being built and now has a noticeable feature to it. Or, it could have been a new coat of paint on a building or something of that nature.
It could be any number of things and although some kind of work had been going on for a period of time, you didn’t really notice it until something significant had changed and it caught your attention.
This is how almost everything works doesn’t it.
Lets go back. What if you knew that a building was being built in a certain area you drive by everyday. Or, what if you knew they were doing some clearing of some overgrown and even dangerous large trees in a certain area. We all have known about a certain restaurant coming to our part of town and we know where it will be located. So we drive by it to watch its progress. My guess is we all have been in these scenarios as well.
In each case, for us to notice, what had to happen? In the first scenario something significantly different, or a major change had to occur for us to notice something was different. A building be torn down. A piece of road that was now cleared.
In the second scenario, we were aware of some change or something different happening. So we looked for it.
For us to notice change one of two things has to happen. We either have to be aware that the change is going to happen. Or the change is so significant or so severe it grabs our attention. And these two scenarios are no different in our everyday regular life driving down the highway, as well as our regular everyday life in business.
In my business, I coach executives, leaders, directors, managers, etc., on ways they can improve their leadership style to create a more engaged workforce. We all know that the number one reason employees leave a company is determined by the relationship with their immediate manager (Dale Carnegie and Associates, Employee Engagement study; 2012).
So lets look at this for a moment. If I am an employee and my manager is not a great leader and I am thinking about leaving the company. However, my manager is either directed or decides to make some changes in their leadership style. As the employee, for me to notice that they have changed. They either must be really different in how they are leading me. Or, I must be aware that they are looking to change.
Yes. This is what I am saying here. This is the only way anybody can notice a change has occurred.
Think about it for a minute. Have you ever known anyone who decided to lose some weight? Yes. We all have. How do we notice that they decided to lose weight? What has to happen for us to notice?
Well, just like in the examples above. One of two things has to happen. They either had to tell us that they were looking to lose weight and we start noticing a change rather quickly. Depending on how committed they are and what daily habits we notice that they have changed.
Or, after a period of time we can tell just by looking at them, that they look different. We can see that they have lost weight. Again, one or the other has to happen. They either let us know that they are on a diet or they lose a lot of weight and we notice it.
Think about people who you might not see everyday. Lets say you have a friend who decides to go on a diet and they don’t tell you. Three months go by and you see this friend. They have been diligently dieting and exercising and they have lost a lot of weight. When you see them after the three months, the change will be pretty extreme and you will notice it. This has most likely happened to all of us at one time or another.
Back to the manager example. What are the chances the manager is going to significantly change? At least, noticeable change that gets the employee to think that they have turned over a new leaf? Probably pretty slim. So the only other option is for the manager to let the employee(s) know that they are going to be changing. Then, to take it a step further and ask the employee(s) on recommendations on what they could change.
Now does this ever really happen in the real world? Managers asking employees what they need to change? Well, I have been in lots of organizations and coached lots of people, and I can answer this question with a resounding, No. Most leaders would never be willing to put themselves out there and ask for help or let people know that they are looking to change.
What is the alternative? The leader has to hope that they change so significantly that everyone notices it. Which rarely happens.
What can you do to change this? First, managers must realize that they need to make a change. This can be done by them. (Rare) Or by the next level of leadership above them. By realizing a change must happen. They can then start to set the stage for what has to happen next.
Next thing, get the training that is necessary to be a more effective leader in todays workforce. You can consult with someone like me to provide a solution that makes sense for your organization and the culture you’re looking to develop. Once the training is decided on, you have to let everyone in the organization know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Again, a professional like myself can communicate on how this is done.
Once the training takes place and has been implemented. The real work begins. Which is the follow-up with the managers and the employees on how it is working. Getting feedback from the employees as well as following up with the managers who went through the training is critical. As we stated earlier, everyone will notice the changes, because everyone is aware. No matter how subtle the changes are, there are still changes happening, and people will notice because they are aware of the changes.
Remember typically the only way we can see change, is when we are aware that change is coming. Like the restaurant being built or knowing what construction is going to take place. The only other way is when the change is so extreme or significant that we have no choice to see it.
Let me ask you, does your organization need to see some change? Do you have managers or leaders that aren’t aware of the changes they need to make, which is resulting in unnecessary turnover or other issues? If so, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets see if we have a solution for you.
To your success and your future.