Following the General Election, Mrs. May said she was going to change her management style. Her style was characterised as “heroic soloist” – making her own decisions with input from a handful of like-minded advisors. The change that was encouraged was to a more collegiate, inclusive style. But just how difficult is it to change your management style?
The key questions are:
- Where’s the evidence I need to do this? Do I have a real burning platform or am I looking at a temporary reaction to a bad situation?
- What is my style and has it contributed to the situation?
- What are the co-ordinates? As with a Satnav, we begin with where are we and what’s the destination?
You can’t answer any of those questions alone. If you are managing in an echo chamber you will only ever hear your own voice. An objective external voice, supported by data is essential. Few of us welcome challenge but few doubt its influence. That voice can be from within the organisation or outside. Conventional 360 degree appraisal is one but not the only way to get clarity on both the issues.
When you know what people think of your way of managing, find someone who can help you work out what changes you want to make. The key word is “want”. If you are not convinced it’s necessary, it won’t happen.
And finally: do you, like some people on a diet or giving up smoking, announce the change to the world in an act of public contrition and hope that for those watching, “the lips and the hips match” then match? Or do you have a clear view of where you are heading and go quietly about it?
Just a few of the many challenges of leadership.