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Why promotions go wrong – taking over an intact team

Posted 1355 days ago by Tony Latimer

Our Beliefs drive our behaviours, then trigger Sir Isaac Newton’s third Law of Motion.

The Problem. 
When a newly promoted manager takes over an intact team well meaning colleagues say things like; “Let me just give you a heads-up on what you’ve got here.” or  ”Oh, you want to watch for so and so, he can be really difficult.” And sure enough, the individual they mentioned turns out to be trouble. What is happening? It’s Newton’s 3rd Law coming into play. Action and Reaction.

When those well-meaning colleagues tell you what the people on your new team “are like”, what they are saying is not true. It is their interpretation or judgement of that person. In situations like this we tend to take the interpretation  as truth. We believe it. And our beliefs drive our behaviours.

The Solution.
When your colleagues offer to “give you a heads up”, politely thank them for the offer and don’t listen. Point out that you would rather form your own opinions from your observations.

Ask yourself this: would you interview someone and then hire them to do a job if you did not believe they had the potential to do it?

Of course not! And as potential cannot diminish if people have a perception that someone is not performing you need to step back and ask yourself what has happened since they were hired? There must be some interference in play. Your job as the leader is to observe and explore. Have coaching conversations with them to find the interference and remove it.

Performance equals potential minus interference. It’s simple mathematics. When you identify and remove the interference the performance must change. And remember, people always live up to, or down to, your expectations.

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