Effective managers must learn to change outlook on performance

March 10, 2011 By    

Congratulations on your promotion. Here are some worthwhile ideas you might want to consider as you step into a new role.

In his book “The Next Level,” author Scott Eblin breaks down the issues that newly promoted executives will face and provides a backdrop of methods for being successful. While being most helpful to the recently elevated managers, there is great value of the core principles for all management.

Eblin uses two key action phrases to make his point on how to affect personal change – “Let go of …” and “Pick up …” – with the suggestions to follow. I will use the author’s phrases to summarize just a few of his ideas and how they might apply to us in the propane industry.

Pick up team reliance/Let go of self-reliance
This is a personal shift that might not be as easy as you think. You were elevated to take on more responsibility because of your personal accomplishments. Now the team’s accomplishments take precedent. The skills that got you here are not the ones that will make you successful as the leader of a new group.

For example, it is most likely that your competitive spirit aided you in your past successes. Now you will need to subordinate your ego by getting satisfaction from your team’s success instead of your individual accomplishments. Also, you will want to be wary that you are not competing with members of your team to demonstrate that your skills are superior to theirs.

Pick up accountability for many results/Let go of responsibility for few results
This is key terminology to understand – clearly a difference that matters. Put another way, it’s the difference between doing and leading. Your team has the responsibility while you are accountable. This is the time in your career where you must drop the colloquialism, “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself.” Now you must begin to trust your team and help them grow and develop.

Lead by defining what needs to be done, not how. This adjustment includes spending more time helping your team members improve their skills and less time with using your own self-functioning skills.

Pick up an outside-in view of your role/Let go of an inside-out view of your role
Being very good in a single skill area might be one of the reasons you were promoted. However, this single most valuable strength might become a liability – in that, when under a new type of pressure in your current role, you will have the tendency to revert back to what you were good at.

Your focus should be toward the bigger picture. Staying focused on your past accomplishments will become a hindrance.

First, understand the importance of how your role fits the overall purpose and objectives of the company. As your team develops, you must be sure to avoid what is called the “silo mentality.” This is where your entire focus is solely on your team.

As a member of a broader team, your peers will expect you to understand that the company is bigger than you, and that from time to time you will be needed to subordinate both your resources and your team for the good of the larger whole. Your influence now comes from collaboration and not from hoarding resources or withholding information.

Pick up regular renewal of your energy and perspective/Let go of running out until you crash
The seasonally intense nature of the propane business makes this an appropriate topic for all newly elevated managers. Leaders need to be fresh and under control as best as possible, not someone who by their own mismanagement is always frazzled.

Learn to leave space open on your calendar. By doing so, you will be able to take on unexpected events that will require all of your skills and undivided attention.

And keep your perspective by reminding yourself that you are not your job.

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