Rob and Tom - Part - 2
Rob: I had our meet and greet meeting yesterday. I felt like it went well for the most part. I could see hesitation in my new group. Following your advice, I let them know my background, how I approach my new role and my expectations for them and myself. We spent the rest of the day going over how the department has been accomplishing its work goals.
Tom: Hesitation is to be expected. Many people have had new bosses come in and tell them how to do their jobs. Rather than talk to them about what their role in the group is and ask them how they can assist them in their job. You are going to have to earn their trust through your actions. The quickest way to build trust is to start with what they call the low hanging fruit. Solve the issues that are easiest to solve first. Some issues you find might seem silly, but two or three silly issues add up to a big issue.
Rob: How do I spot the “low hanging fruit”?
Tom: Two words, honest communication. Ask sincere questions and then close your mouth and listen without judgment. Adopt the attitude I can learn from anyone. So many managers think they are the boss because they know all the answers. They don’t consider their people may have worked in different places and seen the work done in differing ways. They also don’t understand people in their charge might be at a higher or different stage of maturity.
Rob: Yes, a person forgets we all have our individual experiences, and the team will benefit from the collective experience of the group. It is my job to show the way on collaboration. I can see as the leader does, so does the group.
Tom: I hope you can see now the base of being a leader starts with a connection with your people. You are building towards being known as a leader, but that only happens when your people decide you are trustworthy enough to lead them. I hope you can see why I did not want you to start with a checklist of what a leader should be. I want you focused on the fundamentals of relationships.
Tom: As you develop your leadership skill, you find out it is contagious. Much like one rotten apple spoils the barrel, effective leadership spreads leadership amongst your team.