Organizations don’t change, people do.
Now, perhaps more so than at any point in recent past, organizations are struggling to reorient themselves and align with business opportunities – wherever they may exist. To succeed in this business climate, transitions must occur in real time and without delay. For that to happen, stakeholders must buy into needed transitions, understand their role in the process, and be committed to the well-being of the organization. Setting the stage for needed changes begins at the top. Making it happen occurs in the middle.
In the AEU LEAD workshops for front-line managers, we constantly receive first-hand accounts of frustrations among participants related to organizational communications. Front-line supervisors and managers are uniquely positioned between executives and employees. At various times, they must convey information from one level of the organization to the other. All too often, this doesn’t effectively occur because information needed from executives isn’t available or hasn’t been provided.
For initiatives originating at the top to succeed, they must be accepted and adopted into practice on the shop floor. For this to happen, front-line managers must have the skills and resources needed for success. Getting buy-in from stakeholders is not only important, it’s essential to achieving desired outcomes.
The first step in providing support to mid-level or front-line managers is to give them the information needed to effectively engage with employees about what’s coming and why it’s necessary. In practice, communication is a collaborative process with emphasis on understanding. It’s also an ongoing process to provide updates and feedback on common questions or concerns.
A change imposed is a change opposed.
While front-line managers must get buy-in and support for initiatives to succeed, they must also gain alignment for the specifics involved. Providing an opportunity for input before plans take shape or are finalized is another way executives can demonstrate support and improve the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes.
Coaching & Mentoring
Personal growth and professional development are by-products of improvement strategies based on deliberate actions. As an executive, there are few things more impactful than for you to provide ongoing feedback to direct reports based on their individual needs. The process of doing so is broadly characterized as coaching and mentoring.
The terms “coaching” and “mentoring” aren’t new. They’ve taken various forms over the years and are growing in popularity, particularly among newer or emerging generations. Not only do your junior-most direct reports accept the practice, they expect it and will ask for it if not provided.
In practice, coaching typically involves feedback based on performance outcomes involving individuals. It’s often provided for specific concerns that ideally resolve themselves over a set period, often weeks or months. In most instances, coaching is a bit more structured, following a formal process through resolution. Mentoring, on the other hand, provides a sounding board and feedback that’s more advisory in nature. It’s typically used to provide guidance to those involved and seldom has fixed or set time parameters associated. With mentoring, relationships are very important and rapport between all involved is a key to successful outcomes.