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Be Honest and Be Yourself



These go hand in hand you can’t be yourself if you aren’t honest with the people around you. Will you tell someone they aren’t performing up to expectations? Will you share with the team difficulties with the overall organization? Will you tell your team when you haven’t performed up to your own expectations? I’m a big fan of sharing as much as possible with my team. If changes might be coming I share with my leaders so that they can think about it and share their thoughts and ideas about the potential change. Even when this change could be disruptive and might change roles in the team etc. But I have found being open about changes early helps the team build trust. My team just went through a role change from driving Build, Test and Deployment Systems to becoming a team delivering Service Fundamentals that will execute all Services being built across the 500-person organization. This was a tough change for people to adjust to. By having open and honest discussion the team made the change with few issues. One of the hardest things to do is talking to someone about their poor performance. It’s essential not only to them but to your team. Most people want to do a good job and most of the times I’ve had to give people a hard message it turned them around. If they can’t turn it around it helps them to move them out. Either in a new role or off the team. It gives them a new start that can be a turning point in their life. Your team knows who isn’t performing and if you ignore it you lose the faith your people having in your leadership. On one team, I joined my new manager told me I would be assigned the worst team in the group and that my best employee on the team was going to leave. I asked permission to tell the team that he felt they were the worst team in the group. My first meeting with the team I told them what he said and I informed them that I work on the best team not the worst and if anyone didn’t want to work on the best team they should leave the room. To my shock one guy left. I talked to him and he told me he wasn’t motivated to be the best he just wanted to get by. I ended up firing him within 6 weeks. I got a lot of positive feedback from the other team members and I got the best guy to stay on the team. I try hard to be who I am. I’m a very passionate, outspoken, direct and results oriented. In my first lead role, I had a great manager who was thoughtful and quiet. The team loved him and believed in him and worked hard to achieve his vision. I spent about 6 months trying to be more like him as I thought I wanted to be a great manager like he was. During a one on one I asked him if he had advice on being more like him. He got serious and what he told me I will never forget. Leaders must be themselves. If you aren’t yourself people will not see you as honest. As soon as you lose people’s trust you lose the ability to manage them. I have found over the years that this is the key to managing teams. It doesn’t matter what your personality is, if you use it to motivate, teach, coach, encourage, cheer, etc. That’s what brings people together and makes teams perform.


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