Life can teach us lessons that, sometimes, we really don’t want to have to learn. Sometimes we come across situations when we don’t believe we really SHOULD have to learn. Sometimes we find out that other people don’t stick to the ‘rules’ we’re following.
Learning the Hard Way
One of my coaching clients has experienced this recently. Having achieved his senior management position using his skills in building effective teams and delivering the desired results consistently, he believed that his reputation was built and strong. However, his Director suddenly started asking him new questions about his working relationships and how things were going. This started to concern him. Why the interest? Why the enquiry about relationships? He started to ask around. As it turned out, one of his “colleagues” had started to pass comments to the Director about my client’s performance. There were few facts in these comments, just inferences and hints. It would seem that this person was motivated by self-preservation on account of some performance issues in their own role.
My client was both cross and confused. How could a colleague behave in such a way? After all, he stated, he would never have done this to someone else. In his view he played by different rules. It was a moment of learning. He told me he was really disappointed to have had to find this out. More importantly, although he was really reluctant, he knew he would have to be more actively aware of this sort of thing in the future.
But I’m Right!
My daughter is learning to drive a car. So approaching roundabouts has been a learning experience for her as she has had to find out that the flashing indicators on a car do not predict the direction of travel! “But I’m right!” she exclaims (I’ve cleaned up the language!). And I reply, “Yes, you are, but you have to take into account that other drivers might not be bothered, might have forgotten, might be distracted, might be aggressive – and that you can’t make assumptions about them. It would be great if everyone followed the rules and drove ‘perfectly’ and considerately all the time – but they don’t.” And that’s how we as experienced drivers avoid costly accidents – we remain alert to what’s actually happening rather than what the highway code and our own standards say should happen. Being right does not always keep us safe.
And the same is true at work, whether we like it or not.
To extend the driving analogy, we need to use our mirrors at work too. Keep a look out for the behaviours of others! Then we can be proactive about the actions we take.
Modesty is a laudable quality. However it might cause us to downplay the results we’re achieving or might cause us to avoid providing updates on progress to our leaders. These gaps might allow others to fill them with their versions of ‘the truth’.
Our results won’t speak for themselves.
We need to build our own PR machine, built on truth and honesty. In my view, it’s no good being a high performer unless others know about your performance and therefore can agree that you’re a high performer. Avoid being a ‘best kept secret’.
Our model, “The Performance Pyramid” shown below, shows the building blocks of a high performing Executive. The foundations are based on self-awareness, progressing through identifying your best role and team relationships, focusing on your practices in that role, checking on the quality and speed of your outcomes and finally, at the top of the Pyramid – and therefore visible from distance – is your PR.
So, let’s be clear, although others must know about your performance, you must be true to your values and bring to life the values that your organisations states are important to it. And when those values are breached, it’s time to hold others to account, and be a leader.
We all encounter times at work when we feel the discomfort of having to learn something new. At these moments in our career it can be really useful to work with a Coach in a structured way to decide on your way forward. At Change Formation, we work with Leaders so that they are assured, bold, competent and determined to succeed during challenging times and during the good times. If you would like further information about how “The Performance Pyramid” would work for you and your leaders, call us on +44 (0) 7840 323585 or email email@example.com