One of the most common complaints expressed by employees about their managers is that they are inconsistent. However, in this day and age of constant change, it is too easy for a manager to inadvertently convey contradictory messages.
As a manager you can easily find yourself encouraging employees to “go with the flow” and “take things at their speed.” Then you hear yourself emphasizing measured results and deadlines. Then you don’t want to provide any direction at all and hope that your employees will figure out what to do.
The reasons behind your changing requests may be clear to you, but your employees won’t know what is important to you. If you wonder if you are becoming one of those confusing managers, consider sharing the type of change involved with each type of request you make.
When a significant element of interpersonal relationships and/or learning is involved, you are probably managing DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGE. Achieving company-wide computer literacy is an example of a developmental change project. During developmental change, the manager is a mentor and encourager, so employees can experience, learn, grow. Do your employees know which change processes are being approached in a developmental way, and why you sound like a coach and cheerleader when those projects are involved?
When you are dealing with TRANSITIONAL CHANGES, like product launches or relocation, you’ll be a more effective manager if you measure results and clarify each step. Do your employees know which change processes are being approached as transitions and when you’ll emphasize progress toward deadlines?
When you are facing TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE, the steps won’t be so clear. To manage transformation, you’ll spend your time conveying the organization’s vision and mission. During transformation, employees are encouraged to make judgment calls. If an idea moves the company closer to the vision, it is probably a good idea. Are you sure that the way you are managing is consistent with the type of change that is involved?
Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP is a growth strategist. The President of the international AMBLER Growth Strategy Consultants, Inc. Aldonna has specialized in the strategic needs of growth oriented companies for 27 years. Dozens of her clients now appear on lists of fastest growing privately held corporations. An award winning entrepreneur herself, Aldonna provides keynote speeches on “Breaking Through the Barriers to Growth” and “Taking Your Business to the Next Level.” She was the 10th person in the world to receive professional certifications for both management consulting and speaking. She can be reached by phone at 1- 888-ALDONNA or by e-mail at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.