What Do You Do When Leadership Above You Doesn’t Make Sense Any More?
I coach a lot of very talented Emerging Leaders in my line of work. It’s very gratifying work, and I enjoy it very much. It feels more like a calling than a job, honestly. One topic that comes up a lot with these young Emerging Leaders is that occasionally, they think their Boss is out of their mind or playing their cards wrong. Ever had those thoughts yourself? Of course, you have, so have I, and so has just about everyone if you’ve been in business for any length of time. So, what should you do when you are in a job that you love, and all of a sudden the leadership above you announces a new strategy that doesn’t sit well with you or seem like an achievable objective? Read on, and you can see how I advise my clients in these situations.
Who Are We Talking About?
So, you’re telling me that upper management has rolled out a new direction and it’s killing morale and making a lot of folks question the sanity of the leadership? Is that about it? It is. Ok, so how do you plan to handle it? First, remember that this is the same leadership team that got you this far. They haven’t suddenly gone senile or gotten mad cow disease. I’m not sure if their new strategy is great or not, but you owe them the benefit of the doubt to some extent, don’t you? At the end of the day, we don’t always agree with every decision made above us in an organization. But, we get paid to be great teammates and to collaborate to the very best of our ability to make results happen predictably. My advice to you first, is to be a professional and publicly play your cards so that you provide self-leadership and show others what a great team player you are. You, as a manager and a leader, should do your very best to believe the best in the upper leadership and encourage others to do likewise. Start there.
Focus On Yourself For A Moment
You cannot control the decisions that are made above you, nor can you easily change them. If you provide visible resistance, you risk squandering your political and relationship capital with the leadership of your organization. Don’t provide resistance, provide support as best you can, unless you have a very serious ethical disagreement with the new decision or new direction. Roll up your sleeves and go to work. Be a great teammate. Be a great collaborator. Manage your emotional response to this change and find a way to be positive and constructive. Think like a leader, and then immediately act like a leader, consistently, at all times. You can control yourself and to some extent, you may be able to positively influence the people who watch you closely and follow you. Focus on conducting yourself in a way that will bring honor to you, by supporting the decision and by encouraging others to do likewise.
Consider How Fortunate You Are
Many of us forget how fortunate we have been to have enjoyed the support and generosity that has been given us by our organization’s leadership. Don’t discount that, it is powerful and it is meaningful. It is a large part of what got you where you are today. Assume a mindset of growth and abundance, acquire an attitude of gratitude, and face problems head-on. With that mindset and attitude in your toolbag, you are off in a positive direction. You can lead others, as you lead yourself, and you can extend your positive influence over others. You might just lead the team to accomplish those objectives that once seemed crazy or absolutely impossible. If you don’t achieve them but everyone recognizes that you gave your very best effort, you will have built a significant amount of trust and created value with others. Not bad at all, right?
What If I Really Have Serious Concerns About The New Direction
Life brings us many things. Occasionally, life will bring you a situation where you need to make a change. If your company suddenly asks you to break the law or to conduct yourself in ways that contradict your code of honor, you may well have to stand up and be counted for who you really are. There are times in life where you have to stand up and show everyone who you are and what you stand for. Most of the time, companies and leadership teams are NOT asking you to throw your principles, values, and integrity out the window. It may seem like it at first when you react emotionally to the change. Later, the situation might seem much less challenging. Have a cool head, and do what you need to in order to live with honor.
Talk to An Experienced Coach
What about you? Have you ever been confronted with a change at work that really created a crisis of confidence for you? Tell us about your experience and how you handled it. Hopefully, you found our discussion of this challenge valuable and thought-provoking. Be careful. Choose to move slowly and carefully, and take each step only after thinking about how your actions will be received by everyone around you. In doing so, you are likely to lead yourself to a very positive outcome.
Michael is an award-winning Executive Development Coach and a Business Advisor to C-Level Executives of fast-growing technology companies all over the United States. Michael’s firm, Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting is building a very strong and diverse team of Consultants and Coaches who can help you to get your business moving forward predictably and profitably. If you have high performing employees in your organization that you want to promote into management and leadership positions, you may want to reach out to email@example.com and ask for more information about our Emerging Leader Coaching Program. If you reach out to us in February, we’re offering a free 2-hour discovery session and the first coaching session is also complimentary. Contact us!