A client with a long career has been watching things change all around him. A new manager (a former peer) and new peers where there weren’t any before. The new ways of doing things have been challenging. He’s discovered that what worked for him in communicating and relating to others in the past have been a detriment in this new situation.
Well known and respected throughout the organization, this was a “go-to” person when questions cropped up in his area of expertise. Reporting lines were crossed to get his opinion, and he enjoyed being the person with the know-how to help make things happen.
Enter: a reorganization. Every interaction, every way he operated – had shifted. Yet he continued to behave and do the things what worked for him before. His new peers were exasperated. His manager had been coaching him, but progress slowed. My client was frustrated, creating a dynamic on the team that was not optimal.
Yet I recently heard a story of how my client humbled himself in the midst of this change, to ask for help at a recent meeting with his manager and peers.
My client knew that he needed to solicit assistance from his peers to make the changes that would be sustainable. So he told them what changes he wanted to make in his interactions with them and requested his peer’s assistance to let him know when he wasn’t doing what he intended.
My client and his manager both told me it was a “powerful moment” for the team. My client revealed his humanity, and his peers listened. At that moment, the tide of frustration began turning. His peers were now willing to see him differently and offered to help him make the changes he wanted to make. I believe the behavioral changes my client needs to make will be sustained, if he can continue to to be open to the feedback he gets from others.
This incident shows that when we reveal our humanity, when we are humble enough to ask for help, others are willing to be there for us.
Are you willing to be human enough to ask for help with your leadership?