I was told by the manager I will be covering today that she has concerns about my ability with the change management aspect of the role. We are transitioning to a new software provider for our Enterprise Support Services, which will bring a much higher degree of self-service for our customers in the business. The project team are also taking the opportunity to simplify processes, meaning many of the tasks we do today will be done by others in the organisation or not done at all.
To be told that there are concerns about my abilities before I’ve even stepped into the role immediately made me defensive. I went straight to looking outside myself for reasons for this – telling myself that the manager offering this feedback was not supportive, and was misinterpreting my frustration with not being given good enough explanations of what the new process would be for not being behind the change. While there is a component of that, the most productive reaction is to focus on the fact she is willing to give me this feedback, and to take the opportunity to discuss the challenges I would be facing. A great opportunity for me to articulate the challenges I see ahead and my plans to manage them. A great opportunity to hear advice from someone who has been through many rounds of significant change in the same organisation.
While it’s tough to hear feedback, and the natural instinct is put it back on the initiator of the feedback in some way, it is a gift, perhaps not immediately recognisable as such!
I need to emphasise the great experience the team will be getting, working with new cutting edge, cloud-based technology.
I need to acknowledge with them that yes, our roles are changing, and that we will work that out together.
I need to convey confidence in the decision-makers, and the huge benefits that will come at an individual, organisational, and societal level.
I need to work on the team’s resilience, and to make sure they feel listened to and supported.
I need to ask for feedback. And I need to listen to that feedback.