Monday Morning Leadership Q&A – 2/27/17

​Today’s question:  “The team that I took over has had little to no exposure in front of senior management.   I know I need to help them get visibility.  Where do I start?”

This type of situation has happened to me.  I took over a team that had been given no opportunities in front of senior management  and they were only allowed to interact with people on the phone. They were doing a lot of good work but no one knew that was happening.   I was a bit shocked and it didn’t make any sense. I knew that they would be prime candidates for a layoff if we ever had one, because no one even knew who they were.   They needed to be in front of people showing the value that they were adding to the organization.

We started working together on getting them some visibility.  This was definitely going to push them out of their comfort zones.  This was a bit scary for them, but I could see that they were also excited.   I needed to instill trust and confidence in them.  I worked with them to establish a vision of how they wanted to be seen by others.   Part of this change for them meant that they needed to start acting like that vision now, even if they didn’t feel that way yet.  I began bringing them to meetings so that people could see them and had them give small updates in the meeting.  I talked to them about “owning” their specific responsibilities and that they needed to interact with anyone who had questions. I told them that anyone who asked me questions would be redirected back to them to provide the answers.  If they needed my help we would talk about it, but the answers needed to come from them.

What they were missing is that all of these things seem so little, but they matter from a perception standpoint.  They were just fine sitting in the back of the room and felt that they weren’t at the right level in the organization to sit at the table.  I told them to get up there and not worry about that stuff.  If you are in the meeting, then you should sit at the table.  Sitting at the table demonstrates confidence and belief in yourself.   They sat at the conference room table and began making presentations to senior management.

Before each session that they were going to lead, we went through talking points and power point slides.  This was to help to ensure that their messaging was clear and to get them comfortable presenting it.  Feedback was key here to help them improve and work through any challenges that they had.    Behind the scenes, I was promoting what they were working on as well and getting feedback on how they were being perceived.   Continuing to give feedback to them and encouraging them to ask others for feedback directly was a big step.  Reviewing progress periodically is also a great way to give them the perspective about how far they have come.

Perceptions of them began to change and soon they were seen as the “owners” of their areas.  Their confidence grew immensely and they were leading projects in their areas.  They were interacting with their peers, coming up with process improvements and driving change across the organization.  Changing perceptions takes time and you have to be consistent.  Being more visible not only changed how others saw them, but it also transformed how they saw themselves which is even better.

If this is a situation that you are facing and you would like my help, set up time for a free discovery session using this link: Schedule an appointment Coaching through these challenges can make all the difference in your success!

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