PM Quote of the Day — Gandalf

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

PM Quote of the Day — Catherine the Great

I praise loudly, I blame softly

Doing the converse — praising softly and blaming loudly — is one of the fastest ways to undermine a colleague or a team.  The worst examples are public blame bouts — there is nothing more cringeworthy than hearing a team beat itself up in a flurry of recriminations.

Every time that I’ve ignored this advice it was because there was something wrong with my attitude.  This behavior — no matter how “justified” by the facts — usually happened because I find the results of a situation somehow unacceptable to me.

When looking back at these outbursts, I’ve found that I had become obsessed with advancing or protecting my image. Especially in cases where I am very sure that I am right, I must accept life completely on life’s terms. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Acknowledging fear when leading change

Wow, the latest PM Blog Carnival (here) sure had some blogworthy entries in this edition…this must be my fifth post inspired by it.  Louise Manning at The Human Imprint had a set of key change management steps (here), the foundation of which is her riff on the well-known Gandhi quote:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  How does a manager facilitate change – well they need to engage and enable their staff.

I was struck by the vivid example of a father fearing the birth of his children in a change management post by Martha Rice (here) at the CMOE blog.  Fear-based resistance requires a determined, yet gentle change strategy based on acknowledging the fears, accepting those feelings, then adjusting those perceptions to the reality.  Her bullet points are a useful aide memoire:

  • Demonstrating commitment; clarifying your reasons for the change.
  • Inviting questions and responding promptly
  • Using active listening skills; show that you hear and understand the concerns of others, but don’t take on or “own” their burdens
  • Increasing communication and information sharing
  • Reinforcing the value of your team members
  • Providing regular updates on the progress and benefits of the change (e-mails, bulletin boards, memo’s, briefings, etc.)
  • Working through the “harsh realities” of change
  • Being accessible to team members
  • Setting aside time for individual coaching
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