Chapter 8: Inspiring Others
The next day Scarlett was excited, and a little nervous, to share her vision with her employees. For the first time, she realized that she needed them in order to achieve her own success. She called them in and outlined her professional strategy that she had fleshed out even more after putting it together for Jack.
She shared her vision for the team and asked for their input. Both were surprised at her candor and openness. She had never asked for their opinions before, much less involved them in strategy sessions before. Steve looked at it and provided some useful input based on his knowledge of the markets and their client base. He also seemed very excited when she asked them if they felt as if they could get on board with this strategy—if they could see themselves working on the vision for the foreseeable future. She told them she wanted them to be the foundation of building an even larger team that was more collaborative and open than ever before.
Steve smiled. “Actually,” he started again. “I love it! I’m excited to bring on new people and grow the group. I have so many ideas that I can execute on once we up our headcount.”
“What kind of ideas?”
Steve rattled off a bunch of things that intrigued Scarlett. She asked if he wanted to add one of those projects to his plate now, before on the team grew. Steve said he did. Although he already very busy, he was energized to be doing something new and that could benefit them all.
Scarlett smiled and told Steve she would love to have him take on one of the extra project and she couldn’t wait to see what came of it.
Scarlett realized that Melissa had been quiet most of the meeting and asked to talk to her as she and Steve were leaving the room. “Is everything ok? You seemed like you have something on your mind?”
“Yes I am a bit worried about the strategy that you laid out. Although I like the vision I already feel like I have so much on my plate. I don’t know how I would support others on the team if your vision is to grow. It worries me.”
Oh no Scarlett thought. Her worst nightmare really was coming true – Melissa wouldn’t like her strategy and want to grow with her. She continued forward with this difficult conversation. “I hear what you are telling me. I sometimes feel like the work I am giving you is a bit detail oriented and you struggle with that, which may be causing some of the overwhelm. Is that true?”
“No I am ok,” Melissa said a little defensively.
“Are you sure?” Scarlett trailed off…
“Well, I’m able to do most of what you ask without any trouble, but there are some things that are more…detailed, I guess…that I get nervous about. I know I need a little more direction, but I get anxious to ask you about them. When I do it that’s wrong, however, I feel like you get frustrated with me, then I really worried and feel overwhelmed.”
“Yes, I noticed that, too, and that’s why I brought it up—because the detail-oriented tasks are important, and I want you to be able to handle them. What can we do to make that situation better? What can I do to help you in this process?”
Melissa looked both relieved and surprised by Scarlett’s candor. “Well, I think I do best when I have a deadline, but sometimes if the assignment is something especially detailed, it would be great to get a little extra time to do it. If that’s not always possible, then maybe I could show you what I’ve done partway through it, and then you could let me know if I’m doing it correctly?”
“Melissa, those are some good ideas, and I especially like that you’re owning the solution for this. Let’s use this as a trial period for the next month and see how this goes. I want to check back with you in that timeframe to see if you think things are getting a little easier and then make adjustments if needed. We can also reconnect at that time to see if the strategy I outlined is something you want to be a part of or not.
I hope you know I’m serious when I say I want you to succeed here. So if there are elements of your role that aren’t quite a fit for you, then we can try to find some workarounds. Does that sound reasonable?”
“Yes, it does. The timeframe feels a little short, but I really do need this job.”
“Ok then. Let’s work together and see how we can make some progress on mutually fulfilling goals.” Scarlett replied with a bit more enthusiasm than she felt. If she really did want to invest in people as Jack told her she realized that she would have to learn that it wasn’t always comfortable to do so.
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.