Brenda, referrals supervisor for a Portland medical provider, told session 6 of the Leadership Development Lab,
“My ‘pearl’ (the person I chose, at session 2 of the LDL, to improve my relationship with) is Carly. She has been with our firm for over 17 years, and her personality is “This Big” — her experience from her 17 years of tenure combined with her outgoing personality are in many ways, great assets. Until six months ago, when I was made her direct supervisor, she had had very minimal supervision.
“When I was first appointed as her supervisor she pushed back on every decision I made. She was openly vocal in her undermining of me and my decisions at our meetings with the rest of my staff. Even in one-on-one conversations I felt like I was ‘walking on eggshells.’ It got so bad that I started to hide from her. I was avoiding contact and communication as much as I could because I knew it would be tense and uncomfortable.
“I knew things between us had to change. I was tasked with implementing many changes that were necessary to make needed performance improvements in our operation and unify my team for success. How silly was it that I was living in fear of talking to one of my employees?!
“I told myself that I would begin to talk to Carly once per day no matter what. I was determined to put as many of the 15 Leadership Principles to work as I possibly could:
- I provided acknowledgement; change is hard and we are all busy
- I played myself down and acknowledged I have a lot to learn — she has been doing her job much longer than me
- I avoided arguing about all the little things that don’t really matter
- I saw her point of view and acknowledged it would be hard to have so many changes enforced by someone so new — especially when one of her long time colleagues is retiring next month
“We are now on good terms and I have a strong team that can thrive through the many changes we are making.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that I have the tools as listed above and the power to cultivate a peaceful, productive environment through the turmoil of change.
“The action I call you to take is to be present and speak transparently as you use the above leadership tools with your staff.
“The benefit you will gain is respect and positivity from your team.”
You will have less stress in your life. You will make the changes needed for your team to succeed. You will make change work for you. Applying these Leadership Principles, your “pearl” will become one of the best team players.
All significant performance improvement requires the resolve of a courageous leader…A leader willing to face their fears, as they employ Leadership Principles 3 through 6.