Episode 2

full
Published on:

27th Oct 2022

Transitions

Managing change is something we all need to do as a leader but what happens when the changes are personal?

In this episode we explore how we can deal with transitions as a leader. We share our own experiences of dealing with change as leaders as well as offer advice and tips for those points in your career when change happens:

  • 03:14 – dealing with your step up into leadership
  • 08:40 – working out how you want to land as a new leader
  • 10:25 – moving from a peer to a leader
  • 18:54 – perceptions versus reality and managing work friendships
  • 23:53 – what to consider when a change impacts you
  • 31:16 – supporting your team when you don’t know what’s next
  • 32:52 – the How To...

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Transcript
Carrie-Ann:

Sorry.

Carrie-Ann:

What the listeners can't see is the way you were like swinging

Carrie-Ann:

your shoulders then, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

I love that.

Carrie-Ann:

That was honestly just such a picture coming in all guns blazing.

Lee:

I was all gung ho.

Carrie-Ann:

Welcome to episode two of series two, of our

Carrie-Ann:

How to Take the Lead Podcasts.

Carrie-Ann:

Hello, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

Welcome.

Carrie-Ann:

Lovely to see you.

Lee:

Good morning, Carrie Ann.

Lee:

How are you this fine day.

Carrie-Ann:

I am not too bad.

Carrie-Ann:

I've got a bit of a tickly throat, so apologies if I have a little,

Carrie-Ann:

uh, clear of my throat or I have to go on mute whilst to do it.

Lee:

Were you raving last night?

Carrie-Ann:

I, you know, there's a bit of me that would love to

Carrie-Ann:

say yes, but absolutely not.

Carrie-Ann:

It gets dark too early.

Carrie-Ann:

It's too cold and windy.

Carrie-Ann:

I am going into, uh, hibernation mode early.

Carrie-Ann:

I think, I dunno about you.

Lee:

I, I was getting a train at nine o'clock last night in Central London and

Lee:

thinking there's so many people around.

Lee:

I was like, Oh, where's all these people?

Lee:

What are they doing?

Lee:

Like, why are they not home in their beds?

Carrie-Ann:

Why are they only just coming out at nine o'clock when I'm going home?

Carrie-Ann:

Oh dear.

Carrie-Ann:

So let's crack on enough of the chit chat.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm sure that's not what listeners, join us for hearing

Carrie-Ann:

us talking about life stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

Maybe it is, I don't know.

Carrie-Ann:

But we wanted to talk in this episode about change and transitions, and I think

Carrie-Ann:

one of the things that is inevitable in life, uh, is change as we move through

Carrie-Ann:

our careers and our leadership journeys.

Carrie-Ann:

Being able to manage and deal with change, I think feels like

Carrie-Ann:

a really important part of that.

Carrie-Ann:

And we talked about this in in episode one of the series, but if

Carrie-Ann:

we look at the current climate that we're operating in with changes in

Carrie-Ann:

government, uncertainty over cost of living, wider national and international

Carrie-Ann:

issues, we are all everyday dealing with the impacts of change i think.

Carrie-Ann:

But I wanted to just flip the focus a little bit because I think as leaders

Carrie-Ann:

we often talk about change management and leading through change through the

Carrie-Ann:

lens of some of the issues that I've mentioned and the need for leaders

Carrie-Ann:

to be good at change management.

Carrie-Ann:

But I thought it would be nice to take the opportunity and take some

Carrie-Ann:

time to bring it a little closer to home and think about the impacts of

Carrie-Ann:

change on us personally as leaders.

Carrie-Ann:

So perhaps not through that big organizational change management

Carrie-Ann:

sphere of things, but more about how change impacts us personally.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, so that's what we're going to focus on this episode in terms of conversation.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess I was gonna start with talking about the first time I recall dealing

Carrie-Ann:

with change personally in this way.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think for me it was about landing -what I perceived to be my

Carrie-Ann:

first leadership position- so that point at which I took on a role that

Carrie-Ann:

I felt had more authority and that there was an expectation that I would

Carrie-Ann:

lead people as as part of that role.

Carrie-Ann:

And I remember stepping into that and feeling a mixture of excitement and

Carrie-Ann:

anxiety and I guess for me, an overriding fear that I was gonna get found out for

Carrie-Ann:

not being good enough or somehow I got this job and I shouldn't have got it

Carrie-Ann:

yet, it was too, too soon and too early.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I think it felt like quite a lot of change and a space where

Carrie-Ann:

I was transitioning into something different in my career that I perhaps

Carrie-Ann:

wasn't really sure how to handle.

Carrie-Ann:

So I was gonna come to you, Lee, to say a, what was it like when you

Carrie-Ann:

first stepped into what you saw as a leadership position and how you handled

Carrie-Ann:

it and can you recall that first time of feeling like you were dealing with a

Carrie-Ann:

transition in your leadership journey?

Lee:

Before I answer the question, which I will do, this

Lee:

isn't a politician slide, um,

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Please don't let it be after what we covered in episode one.

Lee:

Your, your example that you used, was it a transition

Lee:

that you were making willingly?

Lee:

Like, was that an opportunity you were seeking?

Carrie-Ann:

absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

An opportunity that I wanted and, and personally thought I was ready for

Carrie-Ann:

in my career and felt like I'd worked quite hard to get yet still, when

Carrie-Ann:

I got it, was pinching myself a bit and thinking somebody's gonna tell me

Carrie-Ann:

that I shouldn't have got this job.

Carrie-Ann:

It was a big mistake.

Carrie-Ann:

They meant to employ someone else, so, For me, that felt like quite a strange space

Carrie-Ann:

to be in because, as you say, a space I willingly wanted to transition into,

Carrie-Ann:

but maybe didn't feel quite equipped to deal with how that would make me feel.

Carrie-Ann:

So, yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

You've got me thinking about it even more now.

Lee:

It's an interesting one because I don't think I necessarily had the

Lee:

same moment that you had in my career.

Lee:

But there were definitely moments when I had clear transition points in my

Lee:

career and can look back, or even at the time thought, Oh, I handled this

Lee:

well, I didn't handle this well, I think the thing that stuck out at me and I, I

Lee:

think I've talked about this previously on one of our shows, so I try not to

Lee:

be too repetitive, but I'd joined a new organization in quite a senior role.

Lee:

And I suppose for context, the, the setup for me joining was that they wanted

Lee:

some fresh blood into the organization.

Lee:

They wanted someone that would come and change things.

Lee:

I was inheriting a team who the feedback I'd had wasn't particularly great on.

Lee:

Um, but they were also, there wasn't much of a team, so they were building a team.

Lee:

And I, I entered it.

Lee:

It was like my big opportunity to show that I was coming in.

Lee:

You know, I was a bit gung-ho

Carrie-Ann:

Sorry.

Carrie-Ann:

What the listeners can't see is the way you were like swinging

Carrie-Ann:

your shoulders then, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

I love that.

Carrie-Ann:

That was honestly just such a picture coming in all guns blazing.

Lee:

I was all gung ho.

Lee:

Um, and I think one of my lasting impressions was that I

Lee:

perhaps didn't handle it all as sensitively as I could have.

Lee:

I didn't perhaps take enough time to appreciate.

Lee:

I, I think I listened to the narrative a bit too much, of

Lee:

the organizations not great.

Lee:

And the communications weren't great in the organization, so I did, I started at

Lee:

a point of where everything's bad and.

Lee:

I was the savior almost.

Lee:

I wasn't quite, quite like that, but it was that sense of not

Carrie-Ann:

you're coming to fix it.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

And, and I let that get to my head a little bit to begin with,

Lee:

and I don't think I handled stuff as sensitively as I could have.

Lee:

I don't think I, you know, I didn't throw grenades or whatever.

Lee:

It wasn't like a massive falling out.

Lee:

There was not one moment where, I thought, Oh, I've handled

Lee:

this really badly and there's no point of return or, or whatever.

Lee:

But I just think it was a moment in time in which I then, in

Lee:

subsequent transitions, I've been really more careful in, in not

Lee:

making those mistakes, I suppose.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it's interesting, isn't it, it's only sometimes on

Carrie-Ann:

reflection that you can see that you maybe didn't handle things as well as

Carrie-Ann:

you could have handled them, or that you would've done something differently.

Carrie-Ann:

And so it, it is only like with time that you've looked back and gone actually,

Carrie-Ann:

I could have maybe listened to the team more or done a bit of my own digging

Carrie-Ann:

and research about what was really going on rather than just accepting it was

Carrie-Ann:

as it was presented to you at the time.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think that is something that leaders should bear in mind, that you are

Carrie-Ann:

gonna go through transition and change and not always handle it perfectly.

Carrie-Ann:

And that's, that's life.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually it's about what you can learn from it for the future.

Lee:

It's never gonna be perfect.

Lee:

And I've also been on the receiving end of leaders who have come in all gung ho.

Lee:

And I have to say, you know, collectively it's had a big impact on me.

Lee:

It's, it is one of the things that I work with leaders on now, how they enter

Lee:

well into organizations and it's one of the things that I work on in terms

Lee:

of that not just taking everything at face value and doing your own work and

Lee:

your own triangulation and listening and everything before you take those steps.

Lee:

So it, it's obviously had a profound impact on me over the time because

Lee:

I do feel so strongly about it now.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

And I, and I like your comments about entering an organization well, and I

Carrie-Ann:

know that that's something that you do really work with, with leaders on, um,

Carrie-Ann:

in the role that you're doing now there.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think if I take that back to my example, I don't think

Carrie-Ann:

I'd thought about that at all.

Carrie-Ann:

I think I've been so focused on getting the job that I wanted

Carrie-Ann:

and getting through that.

Carrie-Ann:

Process and with the hope that I was gonna be offered it, that I didn't

Carrie-Ann:

spend any time at all thinking about, okay, what happens when I get the job?

Carrie-Ann:

Like, how do I wanna land in this role?

Carrie-Ann:

What is it that's gonna be important for me to do?

Carrie-Ann:

What do I need to, to take on board to to have an impact?

Carrie-Ann:

Which is probably where then that feeling of like, Oh my goodness, I'm a

Carrie-Ann:

bit overwhelmed and I'm gonna get found out for being an imposter came from.

Lee:

You could have done with my a hundred day plan program,

Carrie-Ann:

I could have done with your a hundred day plan program.

Carrie-Ann:

So moving this on slightly, one of the things that I've been hearing

Carrie-Ann:

from listeners actually, which is brilliant, that people are giving

Carrie-Ann:

us feedback is about that transition when you move from a peer to a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

So we sort of touched on first leadership experiences a little bit, but I.

Carrie-Ann:

I don't know if you've been in this position, Lee, but I have moved into

Carrie-Ann:

more senior leadership positions within the same team or organization.

Carrie-Ann:

And for me that has definitely felt different to getting a role

Carrie-Ann:

in a completely new organization.

Carrie-Ann:

So what sort of advice would you give to people who, who find

Carrie-Ann:

themselves in that situation?

Carrie-Ann:

Getting promoted internally and then having to step into a space

Carrie-Ann:

where you are leading a team of people that were your peers.

Lee:

Yeah it happens a lot.

Lee:

And I've been in that situation in organizations where I've been

Lee:

promoted to more senior roles, and the dynamics of the relationship.

Lee:

Suddenly you are, Peers become your subordinates.

Lee:

I don't like that word, but you are become more senior, but then also you

Lee:

are navigating a new world of peers who also saw you as quite junior.

Lee:

So there becomes two levels of dynamic that you have to navigate as a leader.

Lee:

Even chief executives if it's an internal promotion, still have the

Lee:

same kind of navigation to have.

Lee:

And I do a lot of this with new leaders or leaders moving into roles, and I

Lee:

was glibly mentioning the a hundred day plan, but the concept of having

Lee:

intentionality in the impact you want to make in your role, whether it's an

Lee:

internal promotion or you're moving to a new organization is a really

Lee:

important one because I don't think it is something you, you can leave to chance.

Lee:

And I think the mistake that people often make is when they get into a

Lee:

role, they feel they have to demonstrate their value from day one and they

Lee:

start to sacrifice certain things.

Lee:

So they might sacrifice their vision for some quick wins to show

Lee:

that they've got it all in hand.

Lee:

They might sacrifice their boundaries, and suddenly they've set precedence

Lee:

they didn't mean to from the beginning.

Lee:

I think when you've got friends in your perhaps peer group and suddenly

Lee:

your, that relationship changes.

Lee:

You've seen this where leaders suddenly feel like they've had a personality

Lee:

transplant overnight because they think, Oh, I'm in this new post.

Lee:

I need to become this new person.

Lee:

So I think having that intentionality beforehand around how do I bring my

Lee:

authentic self into a new role whilst setting some boundaries, being open

Lee:

and honest with people where the relationships are perhaps are shifting

Lee:

and changing is really important.

Lee:

I think if you try to recreate yourself in a new role, particularly when people

Lee:

know you and you haven't done that over time and it isn't authentic to you, you

Lee:

lose that integrity from day one and you lose trust and it can be really hard

Lee:

to, to then manage those relationships.

Lee:

I think from the friendship point of view, That's you having open and honest

Lee:

conversations with people if those relationships are changing, trying to

Lee:

understand how you're gonna work together.

Lee:

It can be as simple as having a coffee with someone and going, Look I'm changing

Lee:

into this role, this is what it's gonna mean, how, how are you feeling about that?

Lee:

And how can we make sure that we protect our friendship or even make it clear that

Lee:

I'm not going to be showing favoritism to you or, or whatever it might be.

Lee:

Um, I think that's an important part that we don't often think through.

Lee:

And that's why I, I go back to the point about there's a lot of stuff that you

Lee:

can do as an individual before day one in that job, to put the right things

Lee:

in place and to think through all the hurdles you might need to overcome.

Carrie-Ann:

And it feels to me like in some respects, if there is a hierarchy

Carrie-Ann:

of importance that it could be more important to do that if you are in an

Carrie-Ann:

internal promotion position than it is moving into a completely new organization

Carrie-Ann:

because it comes with all of those extra,

Carrie-Ann:

um, potential complications or extra things that you need to consider.

Carrie-Ann:

Like the points we've made about sort of friendships, reestablishing different

Carrie-Ann:

boundaries perhaps, or boundaries that you didn't need to put in place before.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think that, that, for me, that feels like that planning for day one

Carrie-Ann:

and then your a hundred day plan is, is as important, if not more so in

Carrie-Ann:

that internal kind of promotion space.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, uh, definitely for me, and I think it's interesting what you said around peer

Carrie-Ann:

groups shifting and, and changing because as well as potentially becoming a leader

Carrie-Ann:

of a group of your peers previously, you are in that new space with a new peer

Carrie-Ann:

group that you haven't been in before.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think it does take a while to adapt to the fact that sometimes

Carrie-Ann:

the more senior you become, that you are in more than just one team.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it's quite easy when you are in certain positions to think about yourself

Carrie-Ann:

as being part of the HR team, the finance team, the communications team, and that

Carrie-Ann:

that's your role and that's your team.

Carrie-Ann:

And although you are there, To serve a bigger purpose within the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

Your team feels quite well defined, but when you step into that

Carrie-Ann:

leadership space, you are then part of a leadership team within the

Carrie-Ann:

organization and you've got more than one hat on that you have to wear.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think sometimes you not quite as aware of that

Carrie-Ann:

until you're in that position

Lee:

I think the point you make about the internal promotion is true.

Lee:

There are extra considerations that you perhaps need to make beforehand

Lee:

in terms of how you're gonna navigate certain things, but I think that the,

Lee:

the concept is still true even if you're moving within a sector, so you might

Lee:

not be in the same organization because the networks are so strong, because

Lee:

your reputation precedes you in places because you don't know who you might

Lee:

come across again in your working life.

Lee:

So you might encounter people in a new organization that you've

Lee:

previously who might have been more senior to you, for example, or

Lee:

might have been part of your team.

Lee:

You don't know who you might meet again.

Lee:

And so, so all of those things come into play when you are thinking

Lee:

through stepping into a new space, wherever that space might be.

Lee:

How do I want to land well?

Lee:

What's the impact I want to make?

Lee:

How am I actually gonna make this happen?

Lee:

And it isn't something that you can just suck it and see.

Carrie-Ann:

your point about you never know who you're gonna come across again.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and what the, the, I hate to use the word cuz I don't really like the

Carrie-Ann:

idea of power, but there is one there.

Carrie-Ann:

How that dynamic might be different.

Carrie-Ann:

And an example that always springs to mind for me is, one of my friends who

Carrie-Ann:

went into teaching and ended up in an assistant head teacher role line managing,

Carrie-Ann:

basically in our old secondary school, line managing one of the teachers that

Carrie-Ann:

used to teach us in secondary school.

Carrie-Ann:

I mean like what sort of weird dynamic is that?

Carrie-Ann:

And, and actually I think that the, you know, that our old teacher was actually

Carrie-Ann:

really open and accommodating to it.

Carrie-Ann:

But I just remember my friend saying to me, I couldn't call him his Christian

Carrie-Ann:

name, because just to me was Mr.

Carrie-Ann:

Smith and I had to keep calling him that.

Carrie-Ann:

So it is quite interesting, isn't it, that like you never know who

Carrie-Ann:

you're gonna meet again when you are moving around in your career.

Lee:

You also touch on a really important element there, which is

Lee:

your perception versus the reality.

Lee:

So sometimes you can go into, you know, you might be changing role

Lee:

and you might be thinking, Oh, what are my friends gonna think?

Lee:

What are they gonna think?

Lee:

And you project, certain impressions that might not be true, which is why

Lee:

I say you need to sometimes have these open and honest conversations and

Lee:

explore what that new relationship and dynamic's gonna look like, because you

Lee:

are only making assumptions and that's usually based on your insecurities,

Lee:

and that might not always be true as seen in the case you've just said.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think just to touch on that friendship point, cause that that

Carrie-Ann:

is something that we hear from listeners and something that we've had some

Carrie-Ann:

conversations about, like that whole idea of how you manage leading your friends.

Carrie-Ann:

So you know, it's natural to build up friendships with people that you work

Carrie-Ann:

with, but then taking on that role I think can feel like a challenge.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I liked your advice about having those open and frank conversations because

Carrie-Ann:

I, I think one of the things that people.

Carrie-Ann:

Particularly worry about in that scenario is, um, the idea that others

Carrie-Ann:

in the team might think you are showing favoritism because they know

Carrie-Ann:

that you are friends with somebody outside of the work environment.

Carrie-Ann:

And sometimes that point you've made around, you know, being your authentic

Carrie-Ann:

self, like I think you can feel the need or the desire to really like almost over

Carrie-Ann:

assert yourself in that dynamic, which could have an impact on your friendship

Carrie-Ann:

because you're trying so hard to prove that it doesn't matter that we're

Carrie-Ann:

friends to everyone else in the team.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think those conversations with the people that you are

Carrie-Ann:

friends with is really important.

Carrie-Ann:

Think about what, what do our boundaries look like now in the workplace and,

Carrie-Ann:

and how is it feeling for everybody?

Carrie-Ann:

For sure.

Lee:

I mean, I know a leader who, um, had quite strong friend group became the

Lee:

manager and there were definitely moments when their behavior was so different

Lee:

between they, they would switch on the friendship hat in the workplace, and

Lee:

that got really messy and confusing and it was quite hard for people to

Lee:

understand where they stood with that individual at times because they were

Lee:

like, Well, sometimes you're the jokey friend that I can have a laugh with.

Lee:

And then sometimes you're trying to like, call me out on this issue and tell me off,

Lee:

and I don't really know when we are in.

Lee:

And

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Which mode we are in here?

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Lee:

So, you know, as a leader, the responsibilities is on you at the end of

Lee:

the day, it's not on the people that you manage or you work with to manage those

Lee:

relationships or adapt their behaviors.

Lee:

You need to be consistent in the approach that you take and

Lee:

you need to think it through.

Lee:

And I think the other thing I would say, and I've experienced this where

Lee:

I wouldn't say they were friendships, but they were friendly colleagues that

Lee:

I've worked with that perhaps you would have a moan over a coffee or whatever.

Lee:

And when I changed roles became more senior and those dynamics did shift, I

Lee:

don't think I changed my approach really but they didn't like the fact that I

Lee:

had a different type of authority and I was getting involved in stuff that

Lee:

they wanted to get involved in and you know that's okay some people are just

Lee:

not gonna be okay with the fact that you've changed your position in an

Lee:

organization and you will lose potential.

Lee:

I say friends with the kind of rabbit ears because the, are they friends or not?

Lee:

If they don't, if they don't support and stick by you.

Lee:

Or you might lose people who you saw as kind of closer colleagues.

Lee:

And that's okay.

Lee:

Cuz we've talked about before around the concept of who's in your support

Lee:

network and that needing to shift and adapt as your needs change as a leader.

Lee:

And that's one of the fallouts sometimes.

Carrie-Ann:

And something to be aware of and go into those situations with your

Carrie-Ann:

eyes open so that you are having those open, honest conversations, thinking

Carrie-Ann:

about what boundaries you need to set that might be different from the ones

Carrie-Ann:

that you have before, and thinking about the impact that you want to have.

Carrie-Ann:

I think the other thing that can sometimes happen when you are a leader

Carrie-Ann:

is that you are often the person who's in the position of leading a change.

Carrie-Ann:

So, you know, you've talked about you going into a team and, and

Carrie-Ann:

having a sense that you might need to make change in it because team

Carrie-Ann:

had bad reputation or whatever.

Carrie-Ann:

You might be in a position where you are leading a restructure or

Carrie-Ann:

some sort of organizational change.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it can be easy to forget that those changes can

Carrie-Ann:

impact on us too as leaders.

Carrie-Ann:

And also we can be on the receiving end of some of those changes ourselves.

Carrie-Ann:

So perhaps it's getting a new boss.

Carrie-Ann:

I've experienced that quite a few times now where a new chief executive

Carrie-Ann:

comes into an organization and you are then left in a position where you're

Carrie-Ann:

thinking, Is that gonna change what they want me to deliver in my role?

Carrie-Ann:

Will my priorities change?

Carrie-Ann:

Will, will we get on, Are we gonna have a rapport?

Carrie-Ann:

Are they going to want to work with me in the same way as my old chief executive?

Carrie-Ann:

So I think sometimes when you're in a leadership position you can forget

Carrie-Ann:

that some of these things are gonna happen to you as individual as well.

Carrie-Ann:

So what sort of things do you think we should be considering when we are

Carrie-Ann:

finding ourselves in those scenarios?

Lee:

I mean, for me, I think it goes back to this word, intentionality.

Lee:

I think regardless of the scenario, there's always some

Lee:

pre-thinking you could do.

Lee:

Things rarely happen like that.

Lee:

There is always a sense of you know, a new leader's gonna be joining or you know,

Carrie-Ann:

most of the time

Lee:

most of the time.

Lee:

There does sometimes happen where it is you walk in and there's

Lee:

someone new there, and then there's a bit of thinking on your feet.

Lee:

But I'd say 90%, if not higher the time, there is some preparation for

Lee:

everyone involved before a change happens when it comes to moving job roles

Lee:

. So I think as a leader, part of your

Lee:

do I think and feel about this?

Lee:

What's the stall I want to set out, for example, to the person?

Lee:

If there's someone coming in as a new leader, just take that as an example.

Lee:

What's gonna be important for me?

Lee:

What do I want to demonstrate to them?

Lee:

Where do I want to get answers?

Lee:

Is there an opportunity here for me?

Lee:

What do I want that to be?

Lee:

What are the questions I want to answer?

Lee:

You can start to think what might be going through their mind, What

Lee:

are their priorities likely to be?

Lee:

How can I help support that and this, that, and the other.

Lee:

So I think you can do some of that pre-thinking as you go.

Lee:

Then you think about right, how do I need to be showing confidence to the team?

Lee:

How might they be thinking and feeling?

Lee:

With regards to how do you manage the team element, you can't make it all about you.

Lee:

but you do need to show an element of vulnerability and honesty to the team

Lee:

in terms of what you do and don't know.

Lee:

So there's no point trying to be all, It's all fine, nothing's gonna change when

Lee:

you don't know that that's gonna happen.

Lee:

But you can say, Look, this is the direction we're going.

Lee:

At the moment, I dunno what the plans are for the new, let's say for example,

Lee:

as a chief exec, I dunno what the new chief exec's intentions are at the

Lee:

minute, but we know that this is what we've got to work on and as soon as I

Lee:

get any more information, it's better to, to say you don't know than say

Lee:

nothing and create this kind of vacuum that other people are gonna fill with

Lee:

their own narratives and stories.

Lee:

So I think that's an important thing to consider if you have a

Lee:

lot of unanswered questions and you are feeling anxious about it.

Lee:

It's okay to show some of that vulnerability, but

Lee:

don't make it all about you.

Lee:

Recognize that other people might be thinking and feeling the same.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's a bit for me as well that particularly in the

Carrie-Ann:

example of a new leader, when that's the change that's gonna have an impact

Carrie-Ann:

on you personally, just reconsidering like your values and what's important

Carrie-Ann:

to you in terms of the role that you are doing as a leader in that organization?

Carrie-Ann:

Because you know, sometimes new leaders come in and obviously they've been

Carrie-Ann:

appointed because they have the same value set that is important to that

Carrie-Ann:

organization, but sometimes new leaders come in with a totally different.

Carrie-Ann:

Sort of set of values way that they want to work, set of priorities.

Carrie-Ann:

And I have been in that position where a new chief executive has

Carrie-Ann:

come in and actually very early on it's felt like the things that are

Carrie-Ann:

important this chief executive don't align with what I feel is important.

Carrie-Ann:

Partly for like my experience in the organization, it's taken it in a

Carrie-Ann:

very different direction that i'm not confident is gonna land that well, but

Carrie-Ann:

equally, our value sets are so different that I've gonna find it really hard

Carrie-Ann:

to build that relationship with you.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think it's important to just recognize some of that and be able to

Carrie-Ann:

think that there might be times when that change means personally for you

Carrie-Ann:

it's an opportunity for you to look to do something else because actually it's not

Carrie-Ann:

going go into work for you in a way that feels good and positive and, and something

Carrie-Ann:

that's gonna help you to progress.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm not necessarily sure that happens that often, but I think it, it is important

Carrie-Ann:

to recognize that could be part of the personal impact of a change like that on

Carrie-Ann:

you as a leader in your current position.

Carrie-Ann:

And to be open to thinking that through and sitting in that for a bit to see what

Carrie-Ann:

that really means for you personally.

Lee:

I mean, you say it doesn't happen that often.

Lee:

I think it happens more often than people realize, even if it might not be

Lee:

immediate, but any leader at any level in an organization will be, if they're coming

Lee:

into a space, they should be having this conversation around, right what do we

Lee:

need to achieve as an organization and who do I need around me to make that happen?

Lee:

And then there's the, the process of going well, the people I've got around

Lee:

me, are they, a) on the same page?

Lee:

Will they get on the same page?

Lee:

Is there an upskilling or training opportunity that would

Lee:

get them on the same page?

Lee:

Or do they need to just find another opportunity?

Lee:

And the reality is every leader goes through or should be going through a

Lee:

version of that to make sure they've got an aligned team around them that is fit

Lee:

for where the organization needs to go to.

Lee:

And I think as an individual, if you are one of those people in a team, Be

Lee:

savvy to the fact that that's gonna happen and think about where you

Lee:

want to position yourself in that.

Lee:

I've been in organizations where new leaders have come in and there's

Lee:

been real hesitance from the senior team, from some of the senior team to

Lee:

want to see change, to want to see a different way of working and whatever.

Lee:

And then there's been another group of people within the senior

Lee:

team who've gone, Do you know, I'm gonna hop on this bus and see where

Lee:

it goes and, and go with the flow.

Lee:

Who are the people that have stayed around?

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, and, and I think you have to be able to have those honest

Carrie-Ann:

conversations with yourself, don't you?

Carrie-Ann:

About what direction you want your leadership journey to go

Carrie-Ann:

in and take some control of that rather than waiting to be done to.

Carrie-Ann:

And if that control is, Yeah, this feels great, I love the idea of some

Carrie-Ann:

new ways of working, some change, I'm totally up for this then great.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually if that really isn't what was gonna float your boat, ultimately,

Carrie-Ann:

you're not gonna perform well.

Carrie-Ann:

You're not gonna be as invested.

Carrie-Ann:

So be open to recognizing that in yourself and taking some of

Carrie-Ann:

that action for yourself rather than waiting to be moved on.

Lee:

I would just add to that, if you are in that latter stage, you still

Lee:

need to think really carefully about how you are reflecting your own personal

Lee:

thoughts and feelings to your team.

Lee:

So you might not wanna get on the bus.

Lee:

That doesn't mean your team might not wanna get on the bus, and so you need

Lee:

to still demonstrate some objectivity in the way that you are presenting

Lee:

and positioning stuff to the team, how you are helping them to see the

Lee:

vision of the leader and all of that until the time that you decide to go.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

You are a leader while you're there leading, like you say, until

Carrie-Ann:

you go, you've got responsibility and an accountability as a

Carrie-Ann:

leader there, haven't you?

Carrie-Ann:

And I think you've, you've touched on.

Carrie-Ann:

Already, I think in what, what we've just been talking about, Lee, but I do think

Carrie-Ann:

that sometimes we need to be kinder to ourselves as leaders and cut ourselves

Carrie-Ann:

some slack, because you're quite right we don't always know what's coming

Carrie-Ann:

next in some of these circumstances.

Carrie-Ann:

Like we won't always have the roadmap.

Carrie-Ann:

We won't necessarily fully understand the impacts of some

Carrie-Ann:

of the change on our teams.

Carrie-Ann:

You've given us some examples, but how do you really support your team as a leader

Carrie-Ann:

when you don't have all the answers?

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I guess if you are a leader of an entire organization, even bigger,

Carrie-Ann:

how do you support your organization through a period of transition where

Carrie-Ann:

you maybe don't know what's coming next?

Lee:

There's the formal and the informal ways in which you do that.

Lee:

So you look at your formal structures, how can staff raise questions, ask

Lee:

what's happening, give their feedback, whether you have that structure

Lee:

organizationally or even within your team, have the opportunity

Lee:

for regular check-ins with people.

Lee:

Even if you have nothing to say, it's better to say, I have nothing to say.

Lee:

Not say anything, if that makes sense.

Lee:

And then I think there's the informal stuff.

Lee:

So as leaders anyway, how are you getting out and about whether

Lee:

it's in your team or the wider organization, how are you feeling?

Lee:

What the mood is out there?

Lee:

How are you understanding what the informal conversations, what are the

Lee:

stories people are telling in the organization that are the unofficial

Lee:

stories because they will be going on and your key as a leader is to

Lee:

try and tap into those and either use that to help inform the questions you

Lee:

need to answer or inform perhaps the strategy as you start to develop it.

Lee:

Or even just allay some of the fears and nip it in the bud

Lee:

if it's starting to snowball.

Lee:

So I think there's the big macro and the micro stuff that you could be doing.

Carrie-Ann:

We've got to that time in the episode where time has run away

Carrie-Ann:

from us again, and I think it's about time we shared some top takeaways.

Carrie-Ann:

So if you are a leader who is going through some sort of.

Carrie-Ann:

Of transition and experience some of the things that we've talked

Carrie-Ann:

about in, in today's episode, What would be your top takeaways for

Carrie-Ann:

those leaders, Lee, from today?

Lee:

For me, there is just one thing.

Lee:

You need to be intentional and think it through from the outset.

Lee:

So whether it's a hundred day plan, whether it's some form of action

Lee:

plan where you've done that thinking about what's the impact you want

Lee:

to have, what the actions you need to take to make that happening.

Lee:

Things like what's your messaging going to be?

Lee:

What are the boundaries you want to set so that the right precedent

Lee:

are set from, from the start?

Lee:

And how you're gonna manage yourself in the process are all things

Lee:

that you could do some prework in.

Carrie-Ann:

I, And I think just to build on that from my point of view, there

Carrie-Ann:

would be something about doing that with openness, honesty, and transparency.

Carrie-Ann:

So whether that's, whether that's having an open mind about where you are

Carrie-Ann:

going next in your leadership journey and thinking that through and doing

Carrie-Ann:

some of that intentional work in that space, or whether that's about how you

Carrie-Ann:

are setting boundaries with peers and friends within your team, as you step

Carrie-Ann:

into a more senior position, having some honest conversations about how people

Carrie-Ann:

are feeling feels really important.

Carrie-Ann:

Some useful top tips I hope for leaders who may find themselves in

Carrie-Ann:

some sort of transitional period.

Carrie-Ann:

Until next time we'll see you for episode three.

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About the Podcast

How to Take the Lead
Unfiltered conversations for the modern leader
How to Take the Lead is a show exploring all things leadership.

Every week we'll be exploring a different part of life as a leader, questioning everything we've ever learnt and sharing a few of our own stories along the way.

If you want to learn how to do leadership your own way, join hosts Lee Griffith (from www.sundayskies.com) and Carrie-Ann Wade (from www.cats-pajamas.co.uk) as they debunk myths, tackle stereotypes and generally put the leadership world to rights.

New episodes are released every Thursday. To get involved, share your thoughts and stories or to ask questions visit www.howtotakethelead.com or DM us via instagram, LinkedIn or twitter.

About your hosts

Lee Griffith

Profile picture for Lee Griffith
Lee Griffith is an executive coach and leadership communications strategist who works with CEOs and senior leaders to maximise their impact. A former award-winning communications and engagement director with over 20 years of experience, Lee has supported everything from major incidents to reconfigurations, turnarounds and transformations. She now runs her own company, sunday skies, and speaks regularly about how leaders can build connection and effect change through great communication and engagement. Find out more via www.sundayskies.com.

Carrie-Ann Wade

Profile picture for Carrie-Ann Wade
Carrie-Ann Wade is a communications director in the NHS with over 20 years of communications and marketing experience. She is also founder of Cat’s Pajamas Communications which focuses on mentoring communications professionals to thrive and grow in their careers. She has been named one of F:entrepreneur's #ialso100 2020 top female entrepreneurs and business leaders, and Cat’s Pajamas has been recognised in Small Business Saturday's UK #SmallBiz100, as a business with impact.
Find out more via www.cats-pajamas.co.uk