Project management leadership insights. In this article, we talk about how important it is for bosses in medium-sized companies to be good at sharing their ideas and dealing with changes. Sometimes, these leaders feel like they’re not getting through to their team. We’ll look at a story about Marek, who manages a sales team. Marek’s story shows us how leaders think and react to new situations, and how this affects their work. This is a useful read for anyone who leads a team and wants to get better at handling new changes and challenges at work. This post is dedicated to the directors, managers, and CEOs of medium-sized companies who sometimes communicate goals, changes, ideas, often feeling like they’re hitting a wall!
Understanding Perception and Communication
Project management leadership insights. This wall is nothing but our perception. Everyone has their own! Each of us can look at the same thing, hear the same thing, but see something different and draw different conclusions. What’s more, start to overinterpret facts! During workshops, managers claim that often when their bosses communicate their decisions, implement changes, they start engaging in what we call Chris Argyris’ Ladder of Inference. Suddenly, they start to spin, overinterpret decisions and changes, and also assign them a negative meaning.
Project Management: Marek’s Reaction to Change
Example of one of my clients Marek, a sales team manager. Marek received information from the CEO – from June, the bonus system will change, two new factors influencing the employees’ bonus will be introduced. What does Marek do?
Step 1. Absorbs facts! Gathers information, data about the new system. Knows that he needs to logically understand it to convey it to the employees.
Step 2. Sees flaws Regarding the change in the bonus system, Marek noticed 2 flaws – the best-selling product will not be considered in the bonus and a new indicator affecting the bonus is introduced – post-sale assessment, which the hotline asks customers about.
Step 3. Makes a value judgment. Hmm, it won’t be easy to convey this to the employees. Why change something and create chaos when the current system works.
Step 4. Assigns interpretations. After the last change in the system, the team struggled for 4 months to understand it. Several people probably left because of it.
Step 5. Draws conclusions. So now we definitely won’t get bonuses!
Step 6. Emotions arise. Marek starts to get worked up, stops thinking about succeeding! The stress hormone kicks in, he starts nervously calling other sales managers.
Step 7. Creates a belief network. If something is not my decision, let others know I had nothing to do with it!
Step 8. Takes action. Marek goes to the team and says – the headquarters came up with something again, and the CEO just mentioned that the bonus system is changing!
Seeking Solutions Over Interpretations
Project management leadership insights. If Marek had stayed at the first point, he could have started objectively looking for solutions, seeing opportunities in the new system. However, Marek let his brain get bamboozled. It’s important to be aware of this, but also to make your people aware so they don’t get wound up, and look for solutions objectively. You can ask – is your interpretation based on facts or your beliefs? Or.. If we refer to the facts, what solution can we find? What’s worth adding to this topic? How do you see it? Marek’s story shows us that how we think about changes and decisions can really affect our teams and the success of our company. It’s important for leaders to stay calm, think clearly, and look for good solutions, instead of getting caught up in their own worries. By being aware of this and teaching our teams to do the same, we can become better at handling changes and leading our companies to success. Remember, good leadership is not just about making decisions, but also about how we think and communicate those decisions.
She is an expert in communication with managerial experience in large corporations such as ING Bank and PKO BP. She has years of experience in team management, training, and sales - as an experienced team manager, bank branch director, PCC-level ICF coach, and owner of Manufaktura Lidera. Together with the team, they help the management and managerial staff to build effective communication within the company and develop efficient teams. Everything they teach, they have practiced or are currently practicing.