Allow others an opportunity to understand your process

Allowing others to understand our behaviors and personalities is essential to any new development process. Our team members, direct reports, managers, and our behaviors are often viewed inside a box. 

For example:

Amy reacts this way when. . .

We know under stress Amy will . . .

Don’t expect Amy to connect with you personally in a 1:1, she will focus on the results . . .

You never know what Amy is thinking or feeling, she is stone-faced. . . 

I work with leaders who want to understand how others experience them. They often know the intent behind their actions, but they don’t always know the impact of their behaviors on those they lead. Usually, this starts with a 360 process where they solicit honest and anonymous feedback from those they lead. 

Awareness in the development process is a two-step dance

The feedback from this 360 allows for awareness.

This is the first step in the process. You must have the awareness to be able to change. Once the leader is aware of their impact on others, they move to choice – how am I going to shift and what am I going to shift to become a more impactful leader for my team, my organization, and myself?

The next part is change – the leader begins experimenting with implementing behavior change. However, before they move to change, I encourage them to create the necessary environment for change.

What does that mean?

I encourage them to let their team members know what they are working on and their goals for change. Here is where I sometimes get pushback.

Can’t I just start implementing the changes?

Didn’t they ask for these shifts?

Why wouldn’t I just jump into action, so my team would appreciate my efforts?

It feels odd to let them know what I am working on; will it create doubt in my capabilities in this development process? 

No data = no implementation

Here’s the thing, humans are meaning-making individuals. Our brains seek to make meaning out of data or the lack of data. If you start implementing changes without involving your team, they will recognize something is different but not understand why.

This is where the stories come. Why is Amy acting so weird? Amy is trying too hard. Clearly, Amy read a leadership book and is now trying to follow some directives. Did Amy get in trouble for something and have to change her behaviors? Why is she acting so differently with me? Did I do something wrong?

And on and on . . . the stories are endless. Now your team members are expending energy trying to understand the shift in you, and this only had a cog in your development. 

When you don’t involve them, it also doesn’t change the box you are in. Your team members are still holding your behaviors inside that box. Even though you are acting differently, they don’t know how or why.

You haven’t done anything to help them open that box and experience your leadership differently. But you can’t open the box by force. It needs to be opened through connection.

Be transparent about the development process

Sit down with your team members.  Let them know the process. Tell them what you are working on and set the expectations of what they should expect from you.

You can, of course, let them know that change is hard and takes time. You are actively working on rewiring those automatic behaviors and mental maps, some of which have been with you for a long time. Engage them in supporting you and letting them know when they recognize a shift and when you have fallen short.

They are part of your support team and accountability team. The box is now open.

Your team is more willing to see your new behaviors through the development lens. Then in 3 months, you can bring them into a feedforward process. Ask them on a 1-5 scale how well you are doing on your specific behavior shift. Then ask them for 1-2 things you could start doing to continue that development. 

Change is hard. Trying to change in the silo is more difficult and less effective. Your vulnerability in bringing your team members into your development process will deepen connections, save the misused energy of figuring out why you are acting so differently, and open them up to engage in behavior shifts themselves.

Don’t skip this part of the process. It is critical for your success.   

How can I help? Let’s start with a consultation!