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Don't Demonize Employees Who Raise Problems

Define the processes

Define the processes to work on gaps to solve difficult problems all the time. The fast market dynamic requires constant learners, adapting and growing and trying new things.

  • Is there an ongoing mechanism to address far-reaching issues?
  • Can difficult topics be raised?
  • Is it a regular process? 

Study what percent of your time is spent working on bigger critical issues that seem unsolvable.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Don't Demonize Employees Who Raise Problems

Don't Demonize Employees Who Raise Problems

https://hbr.org/2020/01/dont-demonize-employees-who-raise-problems

hbr.org

5

Key Ideas

The key to growth

Divergent and dissident people are the key to growth and innovation. However, some leaders demonize the people who raise a problem instead of solving the problem that is raised.

They do this because it is uncomfortable to see their shortcomings. The problem makes them anxious and afraid, and not knowing how to fix it makes them uncomfortable, causing them to push the discomfort away.

Notice the problem

Disruption, change, or growth is often the cause for the issues becoming uncomfortable.

Ask if management/key status reports explicitly name open issues that could significantly affect the future of the business?

Remind yourself that as uncomfortable as it is, when you no longer have answers, you get to start building what comes next.

Define the processes

Define the processes to work on gaps to solve difficult problems all the time. The fast market dynamic requires constant learners, adapting and growing and trying new things.

  • Is there an ongoing mechanism to address far-reaching issues?
  • Can difficult topics be raised?
  • Is it a regular process? 

Study what percent of your time is spent working on bigger critical issues that seem unsolvable.

Celebrate the agitation

Instead of demonizing people raising issues, celebrate the agitation. If people don't raise issues, consider why not. It could be because they stop believing you care or don't think you want their best ideas. Both are problematic.

The day your people stop bringing you their problems, you have stopped leading them.

Not complainers, but champions

Problem spotters don't enjoy bearing bad tidings. However, they do it to advance the organization.

Stop making it so hard on them to help you. Don't say "I hear you have a problem with us." Instead, state that you appreciate them helping you to get better.

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Question everything

Questioning everything could help you to spot problems and create a culture of understanding and action.

What does this business look like in five years?  What are our customers worrying about today? What will concern them tomorrow? Where are we failing to communicate? Are we capitalizing on all our strengths? What opportunities are we missing?

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Avoid coming in with a pre-conceived plan

Chances are you’re being hired to fill a void and address current challenges that have been highlighted to you. 

Do not make the mistake of coming to the table with a pre-determined plan...

Become a sponge

Before you can formulate the correct course of action, you’ll need to learn all aspects of the business quickly. 

Sit in on as many calls and meetings as you can, and don’t be shy about doing so. Make sure that the team understands that you’re doing it for learning purposes only, so your actions aren’t misconstrued as micromanaging.

Notice patterns first

Give yourself time to notice patterns, and ensure that the changes you make address real problems and not one-off happenings. 

Making too many changes too quickly, especially when it comes to making cuts, may scare the strong players away and lead your team to be guarded with you. Ensure that key stakeholders who brought you onboard are aware of your approach.

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How employees perceive leaders

How employees perceive leaders

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Become more relatable as a new leader

Relationships with supervisors can be powerful motivators.

Enough personal information as to make yourself seem more relatable provided at an appropriate time might just be the key to a future successful career.

Make your leadership story successful

Introducing yourself as the new leader of a team can be pretty challenging, as people will want to know more about yourself as well as about your plans in regards to the future of the company.

Explain patiently why you chose this path and how you plan on improving the chosen department. Employees also appreciate it when you explain why your new position is integral to your story and, most important, how your direct reports play a critical role in that story.