Help Them See You Differently

As the employee dove into the project, they approached it with diligence and determination, leveraging their newfound insights from the 360 feedback and the guidance provided by their supervisor and manager. They recognized the importance of projecting confidence and assurance in their role, especially as they led the initiative to develop a comprehensive communications plan for the departments undergoing the system conversion.

 

“How do I manage up?” This is a common question people ask during Leadership Development sessions. One way to do this is to help them see you differently.

A person at a company was classified as a “front-line employee.” Meaning, hourly, not salaried, and not in a leadership position. They had been with the company for a year and desired to ascend in the ranks of the company. One day, they approached their supervisor and said “I would like to become a supervisor the next time a position becomes available.” The supervisor said “Oh, I never saw that for you. What brought this about?” The employee said “I’ve always wanted that ever since I was hired. I knew that I had to start where I did, I just don’t know how to move up.” The supervisor invited them to schedule some time with them to further discuss. Before the meeting, the supervisor asked HR to offer 360 feedback to the employee. The employee’s HR rep asked them to provide 2 peers, 2 supervisors, 2 managers, to give an assessment for them to provide their feedback about the employee. The feedback measured the other six people’s responses against the employee’s input. This was used to support the conversation the supervisor and the employee were to have. Desirous of helping the employee get on the best route to ascending the leadership ranks, the supervisor also invited their manager to be part of the meeting. The manager and supervisor gave an overview of how they observed the perception of the employee and the perception that was needed for leadership.

Gain an assessment of how they see you:

“You are a dependable member of your team, for sure. You also present as timid and unsure to your peers and leaders around you. Leading a team at this company means that your team will look to you for direction and empowerment. There are a few supervisory positions that will likely become available in the next 6-12 months. Perhaps you could use this time to help them see you differently.” The manager encouraged the employee and their supervisor to work together on a plan to help the employee with this growth opportunity.

There was a system conversion from the current software to another platform the company thought would be more agile and interconnected than the old system, which didn’t allow departments to share their information with one another seamlessly. The employee would take the lead on developing a communications plan for 2 departments. The plan would include the processes of both teams. Before that could happen, they would work together to understand their workflows and perform process improvement wherever possible. There were incremental checkpoints established in the plan. The project was estimated to complete 6 months from then.

But first, know thyself:

As the tactical plan was being developed, the supervisor and manager encouraged the employee to be sure to take their own temperature about how they see themselves before making any behavioral or directional change. “Know thyself,” the supervisor encouraged. “It’s the foundation that will allow you to make meaningful changes as you grow and develop with your teams.” The employee got straight to work. In addition to self-awareness, they made sure that meetings were necessary, had the right support for the agenda, and included the people who needed to be there. They were communicative and implemented feedback to ensure that no time was wasted, and there was optimal performance for each meeting.

As the employee dove into the project, they approached it with diligence and determination, leveraging their newfound insights from the 360 feedback and the guidance provided by their supervisor and manager. They recognized the importance of projecting confidence and assurance in their role, especially as they led the initiative to develop a comprehensive communications plan for the departments undergoing the system conversion.

Check-in throughout the process:

Throughout the process, the employee demonstrated proactive communication, actively seeking input from team members, and incorporating feedback to refine their approach. They fostered an environment of collaboration and transparency, ensuring that everyone felt valued and heard throughout the project.

As milestones were achieved and incremental progress made, the employee’s leadership potential became increasingly evident to their peers and leaders. Their ability to navigate complex challenges, facilitate productive discussions, bring out the best in others, and drive meaningful outcomes positioned them as a trusted and capable leader within the organization.

By the time the project concluded successfully within the estimated timeframe, the employee had not only gained invaluable experience in project management and process improvement but also earned the respect and recognition of their colleagues and superiors. They saw themself as a competent and effective leader ready to take on the role of supervisor. So did the rest of the team. In the process of helping others see them differently, they began to see themselves differently, too.

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