A different kind of lesson – One that we can all relate to

Publication 15, Issue 4

As you know, I’m not a mom by “trade” but a fortunate and involved aunt.  My brother and sister-in-law have been generous in allowing me to experience many of the “firsts” with their children – first day of elementary school – first JV football game – and yes, college move-in day!  So parents, if you are ready to tear your hair out because you received the 10th phone call from one of your kids letting you know they are homesick, forgot their glasses, don’t like the food or think their new professors “aren’t all that” – read on!

In August, we packed up Sarah, our middle niece, and took her to St. Joe’s in Philly to begin her college career – go Hawks!  And while I helped take Nicholas to college last year, this trip struck me.  What I figured out was that the overwhelming feelings, the topsy-turvies of things, the “woo-hoo” of getting out of the house and apprehensions of a new life are valid and experienced by both parents and their kids when those almost-adults head to college!

To make the point I often mention – that communication styles affect all aspects of our lives – this time we’re going to talk about navigating the college transition with your kids.  And, as always, I’m confident managers will pick up some communication nuggets that they’ll apply to their everyday work lives!

Let’s take a look at the Playground Personalities through the eyes of parents:

Peacemaker Parents – share with their children the importance of making new friends and building life-long friendships.

Organizer Parents – advise their children to “keep it together” and figure out how to keep their studies from falling through the cracks.

Revolutionary Parents – tell their children to join campus activities, stay ahead of everything and don’t skip class.

Steamroller Parents – encourage their children to learn and absorb everything that college-life has to offer.

As parents, you already know how your child prepares for life, handles change, or takes on new responsibilities.  And if you have more than one child, you know that each is different.  The behavior patterns that you have come to know probably will resurrect during that stressful college transition, too!  It’s important to acknowledge and validate that college freshman’s approach, figure out how you self-manage, know it’s not the same as your kid’s, and then work out how best to motivate your departing scholar into action!

I coach my clients that it’s our job as leaders to figure out how to tap into others’ motivation, so parents here’s that spiel adapted to the current challenge!  If you and/or your child aren’t taking to college life like ducks to water, remember these clues about the Playground Personalities of your child.  You might be hearing…

“Took me a long time to make friends, now I have to start all over.”  Peacemaker

“This is my new life and I have to figure out how to adjust.”  Organizer

“Not sure I’m going to unpack everything because this might not be for me.”  Revolutionary

“In high school I was the straight A student; now I have to continue the legacy.”  Steamroller

Experiment with different communication styles to help your student figure out his or her new circumstances so that the outcome is a productive and happier person.  Parents, you may have to change up your usual communication style just a bit!  Here’s how each Playground Personality reacts to change under stress and some ideas how to support a shift in outlook:

The Peacemaker – has a pit in his/her stomach and worries; so acknowledge and validate his/her feelings and let him/her know you are there for him/her.

The Organizer – is resistant; doesn’t like change at all!  So help him/her prioritize his/her work with color stickies or file folders.

The Revolutionary – takes the attitude that if he/she hangs on long enough, things will change again!  So use some humor and keep it real for him/her.

The Steamroller – reacts with suspicion unless it was his/her idea!  So embrace his/her need to have a competitive spirit!

Good luck and here’s to everyone having a great first year of college!

Thinking about a management makeover? Why not?! It’s Spring!

Publication 15, Issue 2

Spring is the season for “makeovers” – body, house, clothes, so why not management styles?  When we think about undertaking a makeover, what motivates us?  We’re bored with the paint in the family room, we’re tired of our wardrobe, we’re just not happy with something.  So what’s bugging you about your management style?

Yes, I’m sure there’s something bugging you – you just have to admit it!  Here’s some help if you’re stuck.  Do you find yourself saying “If only I could change this person or that policy, things would be better!” or “I’ve tried to get through to this person countless times, and he doesn’t get it!” or “I’m usually disappointed with my staff’s progress on projects.”?  Yikes!  Maybe it’s time for a management makeover – something that you can do that looks and feels different – so the staff on your team is more motivated and productive.  Of course, there’s a first step in the process.  Hmmm…what could that be?  Taking a look at yourself first; engaging your self-awareness!

It’s often easy to see the fault in something or someone…it’s not so easy to see those things in ourselves.  I have two questions to help you get started on your management makeover:

  1. If I had a wish to makeover something about my management style, what would it be?
  2. What’s stopping me from moving forward?

Don’t freak out if you don’t have answers to these questions on the tip of your tongue.  You aren’t supposed to.  These questions aren’t easy to answer, but the fact that you would ponder them means you’re on track to making a management makeover!  So what to do?  First, alone or with trusted advisors, brainstorm things that bug you about your management style. Do you tend to rush to judgement, get impatient?  Are you quick to place blame or dismiss people when you’re bored?  Second, review the results and start making connections between those elements of your management style that aren’t working and what’s in the way of your moving forward with a “makeover.”

You know there’s work involved in makeovers, right? The first step – acknowledging that something about your management style isn’t resonating with your team – is the hardest and requires courage.  Even small, veneer-like changes can come with stress and conflict.  The new color of the family room may have had you at swords points with your partner!  But here’s the beauty of a management makeover:  you’re the only one you have to please, convince, negotiate, or influence!  The benefit is that others will experience a “new you” as a manager and want to engage even more!

The management makeovers will take different paths depending upon what motivates you.  Here are some tips for the Playground Personalities:

For the Peacemaker, it might be…stop taking things so personally at work.  If someone doesn’t do “the right thing,” it’s not on you; it’s the other person’s responsibility.

For the Organizer, it might be…stop making these exhaustive lists that even Hercules couldn’t accomplish.  Figure out what’s going to move the needle quickly, and do that one thing!

For the Revolutionary, it might be…stop taking assignments with impossible deadlines and stressing out your staff!

For the Steamroller, it might be…pay attention to other people’s feelings, opinions, and ideas, and perhaps rethink your own!

Are these really quick fixes?  Probably not.  Even after we spend a ton of money on paint and a painter for that family room job, we might say, “Oh, it has to grow on me. It looked different in the store.”  Most of the time we come to the edge of embarking on a makeover, but back away because change, especially behavioral change, is hard work. We look at the “old soft shoe” we’ve become and it’s comfortable.  But the reveal in a makeover is that usually something great happens – not immediately, but over time.  We have to be able to figure out what we want to makeover first, remove the barriers that are holding us back, and go for it.  There’s no “secret sauce.”  Whatever that makeover looks like for you is all a personal choice!

Have fun exploring!

Need a New Year’s Tune-up? I have one for ya if you are stuck!

Publication 15, Issue 1

I hold myself and my coaching clients accountable to “self manage” – to catch ourselves before we go berserk!  I was in the grocery store last week when a three year-old girl threw herself on the floor, arms and legs flailing, loudly wailing that she wanted to go home!! The poor Mom looked horrified.  So I went up to the Mom and said, “I’m with her…I’d like to go home too…and I’d also like to be able to freak out in public, but I’m afraid they’d take me away in an ‘I love me jacket!'”

We all have had those moments at work where someone annoys us, springs a deadline on us at the last minute, says something that hits us the wrong way, or forgets to invite us to a meeting and then blames us for not showing up.  Any of these can wreck your day. Understandably so!

If you are looking for an idea for a New Year’s “tune-up” – a behavior change – I have one for you!  Know your “stress barometer”; know your breaking point.  Everyone has one.  If you think you’re as cool as a cucumber all the time, you’re not being honest with yourself!  Some people’s fuses are longer than others – but stress has affects on us all in obvious ways and hidden ones.  We’ve all read about the ugly things stress does to the body – from your hair falling out to heart attacks, depression, and everything in between.  So why do we ignore the signs?  Why can’t we catch ourselves before we go bananas?  Because we’re human!  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to cope before we lose it.

Here’s how each Playground Personality shows the physical signs he/she is about to go over the edge:

Peacemaker – looks calm – but like a swan, Peacemakers are graceful above water and paddling like mad below the surface!

Organizer – wears his emotions on his sleeve. You know when you meet a stressed-out Organizer:  twisted necktie, jacket off, shirt sleeves rolled up…you get the picture.

Revolutionary – gets a little jittery, and no wonder, because the Revolutionary feels as though he’s in a batting cage with an automatic pitch machine that shoots balls out every second!

Steamroller – gets super-focused.  Somehow Steamrollers close out the world and really miss what’s going on around them.

Part of the strategy is to know what triggers the stressors, observe the physical cues and have your reaction already planned out.  Let’s face it – the same things repeatedly stress us out – not new things.  Here are some clues about how people are feeling or thinking just before they go sideways.  Stress is sparked for…

Peacemakers when people don’t get along or say uncalled for things to each other.

Organizers when work is piled high, unreasonable deadlines are imposed and it’s all on them.

Revolutionaries when one of their team members does a “knucklehead thing” and they have to explain it to the boss.

Steamrollers when there’s a failure on their watch.

As managers, we have to be aware of what stresses us out and what we do that rattles our staff.  I’ve given you ideas about common trigger points.  First, take a read of the situation before you engage a member of your team, but more than that, take an inventory of your own flashpoints and gain an understanding of how you can improve your coping skills. Think about knee-jerk reactions so you can avoid them and keep a positive attitude the next time you’re on that narrow edge between in control and freaked out.  Second, think of the people around you.  Each has a meltdown point but if you understand what that is, you’ll be better equipped to work around it.

Be aware of your stress barometer; know the signs.  When your heart begins to race, have a strategy to mitigate your negative reactions to stress.  Catch yourself so you can move ahead and manage your team without the drama!

What kind of holiday shopper are you? What’s the connection to your management practices? Plenty!

Publication 14, Issue 10

So many times people tell me they are different at home than they are at work. I don’t buy it!  We are who we are!   It’s just hard sometimes to hold up that mirror to our face and say “Am I really…this way or that way?”  But until we do that and own our “schtick” we are never going to advance in our communication styles!

When examining our self-awareness, sometimes it’s easier for us to think of ourselves in a personal setting rather than at work.  With the holidays nipping at our heels I reflected on how I like to get ready for the holidays and how I Iike to work.  There’s a parallel in my “holiday habits” and my “work habits.”  I’ll share some Playground Personality© parallels here. See if there’s a connection for you!

The Playground Personalities come alive during the holiday season, for sure.  As you know, I’m an Uber- Organizer. Yes, I have my holiday shopping lists from 2010 in my iPhone and I do review them before I make my gift list each year.  Having my lists gives me the comfort that I’ll not forget anything or anyone.  Also, I’m a traditionalist.  Decorations go up at a certain time, I organize all of the baking I want to do and make lists of ingredients that I only buy once a year. I put labels on gifts so I know who has which package.  And, funny, when I’m working, I’m under the same regime.  I pack my briefcase the night before, pull MapQuest directions if I haven’t visited a client before, and double check that I have my agenda, notes, and whatever else I need for the meeting.  Doesn’t everyone do this?  No?!

Okay, so let’s do a quick rundown of how each Playground Personality shops for the holidays:

  • Do you make sure that the gift you buy fits the person to a tee? (Peacemaker)
  • Do you make a list of gifts to buy and reference the list with the last five years’ of lists? (Organizer)
  • Do you hunt for that perfect gift and know when it pops out at you? (Revolutionary)
  • Do you find the latest and greatest gadget for the season and buy five of them? After all, why wouldn’t everyone want the latest gadget?! (Steamroller)

Knowing our own Playground Personality helps shape our awareness of who we are.  We become conscious of the words and actions that motivate us and mindful of how others respond to communication. Developing our ability to identify characteristics of the Playground Personalities in others allows us to tailor our communications to be most effective. So how does the Holiday-Prep KathyG track with the Manager KathyG?  Remember, I said we are who we are, so let’s take a look:

The Peacemaker – the same person who decides who’s “naughty or nice” is that manager who makes mental lists of people who are good at mastering relationships and those who make managing people difficult.

The Organizer – the same person who “makes a holiday list and checks it twice” makes lists at work and always follows up to make sure things haven’t changed along the way.

The Revolutionary – that person who wanders through the stores on the eve of a holiday frantically looking for a particular gift is the same manager who waits until the last minute to get a project started or to finish up!

The Steamroller – that person who is curious about what the “ghost of Christmas future” has to share is the same manager who is always searching for a way to look into the future and find better ways of doing something.

Does this confirm for you that we are who we are?  Let’s own up to our communication style and know that everyone doesn’t roll the way we do.  Spend time over the holidays observing people’s behavior and figuring out “who’s who” in your playground. Knowing the right words to say the first time will make your holiday season a bit more joyful!

Happy Holidays!

Are you aware of your catabolic & anabolic energy? A self-awareness lesson: It’s more than science!

Publication 14, Issue 9

Many of us leave the house in the morning basically happy, positive and looking forward to what the day may bring.  Then we commit to the access ramp of a major roadway and confront a sea of vehicles going nowhere.  Suddenly our mood shifts:  we’re going to be late for work and the schedule that seemed so rational is headed to the waste bin.  The whole day could go down the tubes-that quickly!

That’s catabolic and anabolic energy at work!  The catabolic energy is the destructive, emotionally disconnected, working in crisis mode, control-freak energy; and the anabolic is the collaborative, encouraging, team-oriented and engaging energy.  Most of us shift in and out of catabolic and anabolic energy throughout the day.  But if a manager is overwhelmed with catabolic energy for hours, it makes it a long day, for everyone!

I’m not asking you always to be anabolic.  That’s kind of impossible in this day and age with all the traffic, tragedy and drama in our lives; but what I do ask of my coaching clients is to be aware of which energy they are using throughout the day.  If they find themselves using catabolic energy, they need to find a coping mechanism to become more anabolic.  Activities such as taking a walk or a break of some kind; taking a quick look at social media to catch up with friends and family; or perhaps locking yourself in your office for 30 minutes for some quiet time, with the excuse that you are working on a deadline.  Whatever works for you-figure it out and do it!

If we get caught in the depths of catabolic energy, our monsters could appear.  That’s no way to live:

Peacemakers become Avoiders to protect themselves. They’ll try to accommodate all requests and begin to get nothing done or make mistakes.  As managers they could be accused of encouraging mediocrity and start to over-personalize things!

Organizers become Micromanagers to protect the process. They won’t want to make exceptions to the process or the project.   As managers they’ll ask a million questions, which in turn will create mistrust and, believe it or not, they could become even more structured!

Revolutionaries become Yellers to protect someone else. They’ll bend the rules regardless of the consequences.  As managers they become “fire drill coordinators” and bark out orders!

Steamrollers become Dismissers to protect their reputations. As managers they’ll take requests under advisement, but not necessarily do anything with them. They could be accused of not caring and being abrupt!

Scary!  These monsters should not define us as managers, but they will if we live in our catabolic energy!  We need to find that healthy balance. I challenge you to figure out your coping mechanisms-which I know could sound psycho-babble-ish.  What works for someone else might not work for you.  Spend a few minutes every day learning how to be aware of which energy you’re applying.   If it’s catabolic energy, learn how you can overcome it and shift to a more positive frame of mind-your anabolic self.  It’s another game-changer in your communication style!  Let me know how you are doing!

Sorry seems to be the hardest word… Not always true!

Publication 14, Issue 8

Elton John was spot on when he wrote those lyrics, and though he was singing a love song – the word “sorry” can get in the way of our everyday communication.

Despite recent political news about candidates who have made careers of not saying “sorry,” saying sorry is not always hard.  It’s the receiver’s interpretation of the expression that makes saying “I’m sorry” difficult.  Is the apology an admission of guilt? An excuse for not getting something done? An opportunity to ward off conflict? Or is the intention not genuine?

I was in a meeting recently where an exec kept saying “I’m sorry,” and another exec finally asked, “For what?” to which he didn’t have a reply.  There was a long awkward silence!  Saying “sorry” if there’s nothing to be sorry about in the eyes of the receiver can get you in trouble; but so can never saying you’re sorry. So what’s a manager to do?

There are reasons why people say they’re sorry: something tragic happens, someone suffers a loss, or one feels badly for someone else’s situation. But those reasons usually aren’t related to a direct interaction in which one person is apologizing for something he/she did or didn’t do.  At work, when a job isn’t completed people typically say they’re sorry.  Apologies are offered, too, if someone’s feelings have been hurt or if a mistake has been made. Sometimes saying “sorry” is more calculated – to minimize the spotlight on oneself, or for show!

Here’s what each manager perceives when he/she hears the word “sorry” for not getting things done – plus likely unspoken back thoughts!

The Peacemaker says “Thanks for letting me know. Now how can I help so it can get done?”  And thinks “I feel better knowing, so I should help to get it done.”  This manager could be too accommodating and take on more work than he or she should.

The Organizer says “No need to apologize. What is not done?”  And thinks, “I’m getting my work done; why can’t you?”  This manager might ask what happened, and could become impatient or irritated.

The Revolutionary says “Not looking for excuses.  How are you going to get it done?”  Is thinking, “What are you sorry about?”  This manager might get angry or annoyed if he/she doesn’t hear a reasonable explanation or hears an excuse.

The Steamroller says, “Should I find someone else to do it?” And is thinking, “Perhaps, you aren’t competent or intelligent and should be replaced!”

As you can see, miscommunication gets in the way of productivity and creates stress in the workplace.  How do we preempt it?   As a manager, it’s important to know your team.  Understand which Playground Personality you’re interacting with and use the words and actions that resonate with that person to get the job done!  For example, if you’re a Peacemaker manager and you’re working with a Steamroller staffer, don’t take the work on.  Rather, offer him/her the opportunity to assemble the resident experts in the organization and facilitate a meeting that will move things along.

Using the word “sorry” out of habit, tends to convey a lack of confidence.  Before you use the word, understand what you’re sorry for.  If sorry is the wrong word, find a better one. Some of us have about seven “sorrys” in life.  The average U.S. life expectancy is close to 80 years, so you can do the math!   Be more aware when you hear the word “sorry” from someone you work with and try to figure out how best to get the job done!  And be mindful of when you choose to use the word, yourself!

PS – thanks to all of my contributors this month!

Is there enough social time during your work life? It’s not all business! Something to ponder over the summer!

Publication 14, Issue 7

When was the last time you blew off a company social event because you had to catch up on emails, finish up a paper, or plan a meeting?  We all do it!  Managers have to make time during their workday to be social.  Don’t forget that staff watches our every move.  What does it say about us as managers if we don’t show up for a company event?

Here’s what the Playground Personalities perceive when managers don’t attend company socials:

The Peacemaker – “My manager doesn’t care about me.”

The Organizer – “My manager is too worried about checking the boxes.”

The Revolutionary – “My manager usually pops in to an event and then leaves early.”

The Steamroller – “My manager is too good to mingle with the common folk.”

Yikes!  That’s motivation for me to show up at the next company event!  The higher up you go in an organization, the more important it is to build your social skills at work.  People need to see us for who we are and what we are as workplace professionals and colleagues.  That’s what makes us real!  Some of us do it naturally (The Peacemaker); the rest of us have to work at it.  We all can get better at being social at work.  The next time – and there will be a next time soon, I’m sure – think twice before you are a “no show” at a company event.  Make the time to go and enjoy the event.  Mingle with folks and don’t worry about what’s not getting done.  Somehow, it will get done.  It always does!

Summertime is a great time to reflect on a management competency you would like to refresh.  Here’s one for ya!  Take the time to consider stepping up your game and becoming more social at work.  You may be surprised at the relationship doors that will open for you as you make yourself more available to those opportunities!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

So, how are you doin’? Need to refresh those business goals?

Publication 14, Issue 6

It’s mid-year already!  Can you believe it?  The midway point is a great time to take stock of all the things you said you were going to do in 2015 when you set goals in January – and to take a mid-year check-in with your staff and organization. Think about what’s changed at the company since the beginning of the year and decide if your 2015 goals have to be modified before the second half of the year gets underway.

Despite popular belief, goal planning is not one of those “one and done” management tasks.  When you write goals at the beginning of the year, periodic reviews are important to make sure you’re on track to accomplish them!  Business needs change, people come and go, and customer requirements shift.  The ideas that sounded good in January might not be possible in July.  Be brave – take out your goals, dust them off and refresh them if it makes sense!

I have two simple Corporate Nanny Tips to help you get started:

First, reflect.  Spend some time thinking about the goals and how relevant and actionable they are.  Ask yourself some “big picture” questions:  Where can we make the biggest impact in the organization?  What’s going to move the needle?  How can we be bold?  How can I develop my staff so they feel more ready and able to handle their jobs moving forward?

Second, anticipate reactions.  Be ready to respond to “Isn’t it enough that we wrote the goals in January and they got approved?” Engage your staff and your boss, if possible. Articulate a short summary of your reflections and explain why you want to spend the time to review and possibly refresh the department’s goals.

Once you’re past the moaning and groaning (whether it’s you or your staff) about doing a mid-year goal review, you’ll be amazed to find that the sky won’t fall if you make a “mid-course correction.” Remember to anticipate reactions – some hints follow but don’t get distracted by them – and continue to progress:

Peacemakers – will want to know how the people will be impacted.

Organizers – will want to know all the moving parts.

Revolutionaries – will want to know who’s responsible and what the new deadlines are.

Steamrollers – will want to know “why the change?”

So if you do a good job with the first tip – reflect – the rest will be easy!

I know most of us are attached to our goals because meeting them results in a “dough re mi” payout come bonus time; and the money is nice, I know!  But goals are much more than the words on paper and how the monies are divvied up. Well defined goals that advance your department as they’re accomplished are testaments to your leadership – how you involve people, establish new policies, keep things exciting and moving forward, and set the vision for great things to happen.

When Problem Solving, Acting like the Smartest Guy in the Room…Isn’t Always the Best Strategy

Publication 14, Issue 5

Not long ago my Mom—a Peacemaker—telephoned me, pretty upset after a doctor’s—a Steamroller—appointment consultation.  She had carpel tunnel syndrome and the surgeon told her, “I can do the surgery, but don’t bother unless you plan on doing the PT afterwards.”  She felt the doctor was “unsympathetic and uncaring,” to which I replied, “Actually, he was telling you that he is the man for the job, but unless you’re willing to do the post op therapy, he isn’t going to do the surgery.  I’m sure he doesn’t want to risk a failed procedure because the patient didn’t do the follow-up.”  She accepted my thoughts, had the surgery, did the post op therapy, and she’s fine.

For me, the moral of the story is if I’m going to have any surgery, I absolutely want the doctor to be the smartest guy in his/her field.  That’s why we get second opinions and spend the time going to specialists, right?   As an Organizer, it’s easy for me not to personalize a brusque bedside manner and just talk business.  But everyone doesn’t roll that way!

When it comes to work—work that doesn’t involve life or death—not everybody has to be the “smartest guy in the room.”  We expect people to engage others, offer recommendations to fix problems, build scenarios for different solutions, or do the research on the best approach to a problem, that’s for sure.  But we have to learn how to work collaboratively with everyone to solve a problem.  Here’s how each Playground Personality© addresses problems:

Peacemakers – work with people they know – trusted advisors.

Organizers – are logical and factual, like a company historian.

Revolutionaries – act like investigators, no question is “off the table.”

Steamrollers – take it on like a complex puzzle and work with other experts.

So with four different approaches to problem solving, a manager can see why this work activity might be tricky.  Most people have an inherent longing to be seen as smart; that can complicate problem-solving interactions.  What I tell my coaching clients is that getting things done at work is beyond their IQ.  Communicating and collaborating with people makes all the difference.

So why do people feel like they have to demonstrate their IQ “creds”?

Peacemakers – do it because they want people to know that they can handle something.

Organizers – do it because from their experiences they know what works and what doesn’t – so why waste time?

Revolutionaries – do it because they want to be the hero.

Steamrollers – do it because they want people to know they are the “expert” in their field.

So with these different approaches to problem solving how does the manager get to the solution?  The answer is simple—you need everyone to participate, to weigh in from their point of view. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on an integral part of the solution.  Here’s a quick summary:

Ask Peacemakers how something will impact the people.

Ask Organizers how something will impact the process.

Ask Revolutionaries how the company can stay ahead of the issue.

Ask Steamrollers how something is researched when it’s never been done before.

Consider all of the feedback, synthesize it through a work group, make informed assumptions, and launch the journey.  Remember, you can always regroup if you have to!

Its spring – is your organization fit? Reorganizations…Be proactive when you can

Publication 14, Issue 4

Wow, spring is finally here and we’re outside walking, running, taking care of our lawns and sitting on our decks for happy hour instead of in front of the fireplace – woo-hoo!  We’re all changing and it looks like my clients are changing their organizations too!

At almost every meeting I went to this month, I found my clients were “reorganizing” their departments.  Most of the time, reorganization is a proactive event.  Leaders want to showcase the talent, get a better outcome, change a process, or respond to a customer need.  Communicating to the staff during these times is easy: the leader explains why the change was made, people ask a few questions, and go about their day-to-day work.

But there are times when reorganization is a reactive event – and those times aren’t so easy.  Reactive reorganizations can happen when a supervisor resigns, work production erodes, or supervisors are just unwilling to see that their work contributions need to be about more than their technical competence.

Before you start moving the boxes on an org chart – stop, think, and ask yourself, “If this were my company, would I organize my department this way?”  If the answer is “no,” then think about making a change that will positively impact your staff and your organization.

Being proactive gives you a chance to think about the big picture, collect feedback, then move decisively.  If your reorganization is reactive, you have very little time to think things through. Moving the deck chairs is a quick fix without a lot of staying power and communicating a rationale to the staff becomes difficult.  So, if you are going to make organizational moves, be bold!  If the moves aren’t bold, don’t bother!

Organizations are going to continue to put people into supervisory roles because they are great technical staff members – that’s the harsh reality of organizational life.  Most of the time we just don’t have an extra supervisor hanging around to fill in when there’s a vacancy.  I get that!  But don’t miss the importance of having someone in a supervisory position who knows the technical work and can connect with people, assign work, make the environment pleasant and communicate the bigger picture.  These interactions really do matter!

Remember, all of my Playground Personalities can be happy and productive supervisors; they just look different.  One Playground Personality type is not better than another, i.e., Organizers don’t make better supervisors than Revolutionaries.  They have different strengths.  Here’s a quick review:

Peacemakers – include people in decision making processes, ask for feedback and try to implement the feedback!

Organizers – clarify the work and the roles of their staff; they keep the trains on schedule!

Revolutionaries – look at the people and the situation they are in and make it better!

Steamrollers – see all sides of an issue and are able to explain “why” without getting in the weeds!

So make sure you have the right people in supervisory roles.  Don’t move people into those important positions because people like them, they get a ton of work done, they move fast, or they are IQ smart.  Any one of those skills is a great attribute, but a strong supervisor will have all of those skills in some measure and the technical competence to provide both oversight and vision.

Keep your long-range organizational plan fit and continually evaluate your staff so when you’re ready to implement a reorganization, you have the right people to make it work!

On the Blog

Latest from Facebook

4 years ago

On the house - an offer of consulting or coaching from Katharine Giacalone, The Corporate...

4 years ago

News from Katharine Giacalone, The Corporate Nanny...March 2020

4 years ago

As a manager do you ask: “Do you want the good news or bad news?” Here’s a newsflash…not everyone wants the ... See more