A client who leads a local office is facing a new organizational structure and regional leader. We’ve been strategizing on the new regime. The result: Smashing Success! The leader has been hugely complimentary and they’ve established an outstanding rapport. Here’s how:
Avoid Top 3 Traps:
Assuming the Worst – Lack of information automatically triggers negative assumptions. In psychology we call this Negative Closure. When there’s a gap we fill in with negatives. For example, when you expect a loved one at 10PM and they’re still missing at 2AM, we imagine the worst! When the future is unclear this is the automatic reflex. Unless you actively work against it, Negative Closure will rule.
Rumor Epidemic – Rumors are a mass infection of Negative Closure exacerbated by fear and half-truths. Rumor toxicity is highly contagious! Unless you protect yourself and your team, you will be infected.
Jacked-up & Jumpy – If we don’t guard against the first two traps, we’re set up for the Fight or Flight Response. We start prepping for a fight, building our defensives or both. The more we get ready for battle, the more we reinforce the negative closure and succumb to the rumor virus. This leads to shoot first and ask questions later defensiveness.
Seize the Moment Positively:
Focus on Strengths & Opportunities – Review your strengths and the opportunities. No change can take away your successes and there’s always opportunities. Fill in the gap with positives. Keep doing it. Negative Closure is the default unless you keep hitting the positive reset button.
Quarantine! – Do everything you can to avoid the rumor mill. Make a personal and team commitment to re-direct conversations back to your strengths and the opportunities. Somebody’s else’s worry or complaint is their nasty virus, don’t infect yourself or team with it.
Be the Welcome Wagon – People hate change and they greet it with fear and loathing. New leaders often face resistant or even hostile crowds. Put yourself in their position. How would you feel when greeted repeatedly with suspicion or hostility? Not so good! Instead, show optimism and enthusiasm.
Ask How to Support the Vision – We naturally focus on “What will this mean for me?” leading to all sorts of questions and conversation about “Me”. Instead, learn about the leader, the vision and how to support the vision. Show interest in the individual and their goals. Like dating, a self-absorbed date is really unappealing. Showing genuine interest is attractive and sets the relationship on a positive path.
My client did all of the above techniques. Having an enthusiastic and welcoming approach made a huge difference. The leader was highly complimentary of the local manager and the office. Even more, expressed how refreshing it was to have a positive and encouraging conversation!
They’re off to a great start and the client has made a hugely positive impression and clearly standing out above the crowd.
Dealing with change, restructuring and new leadership is a challenge. The basic disciplines are a great start. For more check out the below resource.
Resource of the Day: Contact me Ask for the book The Top Performer’s Guide to Change