New Manager? New Team? How To Find the Balance.

Congratulations, New Manager!

You just became a new manager.  You just got a new team.  You have lots of ideas of what needs to change.  You point out things that are wrong.  You tell them what needs to be different.  All is good.  Right?  What?  They resent you?  They are sulking?  They grumble?  They stop talking to each other when you walk up?  What’s wrong!?  Why isn’t this working the way you dreamed?

Well . . . put yourself in their shoes.  What makes you ‘righter’ than them?  They’re doing the job.  They’ve been doing the job. They are not deliberately doing a bad job.  Their perspective is their job.   Let me put that more clearly–each person is looking at his/her job.  The tasks.  The deadlines.  The barriers.  The annoyances.  They are not looking at the ‘whole.’  They are not thinking about how it all fits together and how to make it better.  They have a different perspective than you.  In fact, I’ll bet $$ that your perspective is recent.  Especially if you got promoted to manage them.  Now that you have a different job, you’re looking at it differently.

Why would they understand your perspective unless you explain it to them.  Provide them some context.  From what they can see, you’re being critical (if you were formerly their coworker, they may think you’ve lost your mind) without any basis.

What is happening to you is a little like how you walk into your house day after day and see nothing wrong with it, until you find out your mother-in-law is coming in 2 hours.  Suddenly you see everything that is wrong and freak out about how you can’t get it all done before she gets here.  Neither perspective is right.  The house has some things wrong, but not all that you see from your mother-in-law’s view.  The same is with the new job, the new team.  There are some things wrong.  You need to EXPLAIN how and why you see these things, though, to your new team.  You need to realize they are perceiving the criticism as being about them, which is not fun.

See it through their eyes and work hard to explain what you want to change in a way that provides context and an appreciation of how they can help fix it–not how they are the problem.

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