A very good friend of mine has just started in a new job, new company and new industry. He is part of the Senior Leadership team. Needless to say this is confronting and a little nerve racking for him as he is way out of his comfort zone from something he knew for 25 years. I’ve been speaking with him a bit over the past couple of weeks and I’ve noticed how quick he is to jump to conclusions. His conclusions are of course based on a very different business experience. This has got me thinking, why are we so quick to jump to conclusions? It seems to be a tendency for action oriented people.
I am assuming here, but I believe my friend is quick to jump to conclusions as he is desperate to feel confident. To build that ego back up again and believe he is better at something than his counterparts. Problem with him is he is quick to present his ‘conclusions’ to others, including the Directors, which may be unfounded at this stage. Especially given he hasn’t taken a whole lot of time to stop, listen and observe why he has come to these conclusions. In other words why are people behaving the way they are or why the process the way it is.
One thing that is incredibly important for leaders when they start their leadership journey, are looking to change or make changes, is they need to have sat back for a period of time, observed and listened very carefully to what is going on and why. They need to have done some discreet investigations to find out why things are the way they are. Then based on evidence and more than surface observations, they can make recommendations or provide some feedback. The worst thing a leader can do, especially when starting a new position, is walk in, beat their chest, ladies included, demonstrate impatience and disrespect, and tell those who have worked for the company for years, they are doing things badly. Not a strong engagement strategy!
Leaders, be aware and have the emotional intelligence to understand that one industry, or even a business within the same industry, does not operate the same. There will be differences. After all, the people make the business and drive the process. There will be extreme difference in industry, in public versus private versus government for example. Ensure that to engage the hearts and minds of those around you, you are considered in your approach. And that is the feedback I gave to my friend. He is grateful! It was heading on a collision course!