In the previous blog, I explored some of the characteristics of naysayers and how it is common for the insecurities of others to possibly have a negative impact on our own growth. Last week, I used personal examples from my experiences shortly after becoming sober. These examples highlight how sometimes those around us are often uncomfortable when we experience substantial personal growth or change. As a result, they may unconsciously try to pull us back down. This same type of thinking happens regularly in the workplace.
A specific workplace example I have observed includes changes in expectations for salespersons. This seems to come up when there is a longer-term legacy culture that has always done things one way, and now there is a new leader that is pushing for something different. This may be as simple as changing the expectation around the number of sales calls that need to be made in a day. Perhaps 30 calls a day was fine before, but now there is a new expectation of 60. Or it could be that instead of doing any deal, regardless of size, the new expectation is that we only target deals sized in the top 30% of our current client size. There really is no limit to the number of variations of this type of example.
Regardless of the new normal or new expectation, there will always be naysayers. As the leader, it is imperative to mitigate this thinking and then reaffirm the new thinking. Here are a few ways to address the naysayers and their insecurities:
- Have a clear vision. Have a clear vision and understanding of why this new normal exists. This thinking becomes your True North and a rallying cry of why change is important. As a leader, you must fully be in on this and know the “why” behind what is being done. The second part to this is that you need to overcommunicate it to everyone who is impacted by the new direction. In other words, you have to know it and believe it to be the right thing deep in your bones. When you have reached this mindset, you will be all in and your team will sense that. This understanding will help everyone involved to fully comprehend the direction of the organization.
- Overcommunicate and stay consistent. As human beings, we often fear change. Knowing in your core that this is right may be the first step, but being consistent and not taking it personal when people react with negative beliefs is the second. This means that your team must sense from you that this is 100% where things are going. In other words, this is not the “flavor of the month”. To make this work, you will have to lead by example, check in often, and not take it personal if a team member reacts. Don’t take the bait, remind them of the “why,” hold them accountable, and stay on track.
- Step up or step out. This phase happens after a reasonable amount of transition time has passed. You have communicated why the change is happening, and you have been consistent, although you may still have some naysayers. Likely, these people are getting frustrated because they are being held to a higher level of accountability and they do not like it. A light is shining on them and it is exposing what they are not doing or where they could improve. At this point, it is the leader’s job to help them figure out how to step up to do the work well. If, however, they cannot, it is also your job to help them step out and find a place that is better suited for them to work. Neither is the wrong answer here. They only wrong answer is empowering them to continue to fail.
Whatever the case may be for you, understanding that leading people into areas of thinking that may sometimes be uncomfortable is the obligation of great leaders. It is in these changes that teams can begin to really grow and hit new highs.
Are you stuck in others’ negative and outdated thinking? Do you want to learn how to empower those in your organization to escape into a new way of thinking? Contact us today to learn more!