ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum


Online Edition - February 2001

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Issue Highlight — Back To The End Of The Line
- Peter Block explores why the customer has become less important and what this means for those who care about employee development and organizational change.

 In This Issue...
Quality At Lightning Speed
My Hero!
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Leader Of The Pack


 Features...
Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Pageturners
Heard on the Street


Return to NFC Index



Leader Of The Pack
Integrating a New Leader Through Teambuilding and Communication

Summary
For those newly appointed to a managerial position, one thing is for sure: There’s no time to waste. After receiving the promotion, you realize there is much to accomplish,
and you have a limited amount of time in which it can
be done. Not only do you have to familiarize yourself
with your new job description, you also have to step
into the role quickly and efficiently.
  Learn how Diane Jerman of Chalfont, Pa., has used her years of experience to
help others through this exciting, but difficult time. From assessing the possible challenges you will face in the future to conducting your first meeting, this is a
time of first-impressions and setting the pace.
  With these steps, you may be able to calm your “new leader worries” and become
the effective leader you always knew you could.

  Great news: The old manager in logistics just gave her two weeks. Even better news: You are being promoted to fill her position! Along with the new leadership position
comes a pay raise, more vacation and increased respect in the company.

  But wait a second; are you sure this is good news? After all, two weeks is not a
lot of time to assume a leadership role that is new to you. What will team members
think of you as their new leader? This will finally give you the chance to try out those ideas you’ve been mulling over, but what if the team doesn’t agree with you? You don’t want to be like former bosses you’ve had. How can you talk to the team without intimidating or alienating them? How do you motivate the team to work well under
new leadership without losing momentum?

  Diane Jerman, an organization development consultant based in Chalfont, Pa.,
has an easy solution to calm your “new leader worries.” Since 1996, Jerman has
helped organizations address these challenges by applying OD theory integrated
with relationship training. To help make the transition from team member to team
leader, Jerman employs three simple steps: learn, analyze and meet.

  “Just landing a new job doesn’t mean you’re on board,” states Jerman. “The quicker
you create meaningful connections with core team members, the sooner you can
prove your value.”

Teambuilding and Communication

  Jerman’s process is based on two principles: teambuilding and communication. According to Jerman, “It makes sense to use a teambuilding theory because one
of the reasons for integrating a new leader is to create a great team.”

  Filomena Warihay, Ph.D., president of Take Charge Consultants in Downington, Pa., and creator of Jerman’s process, offers some insight into leadership, “New leaders
don’t have the luxury of waiting until all the players eventually warm up to them.”

  Warihay, a successful leadership coach with over 25 years experience continues, “Leaders need to collapse the time it takes to be effective in their new role because nearly every aspect of business has been streamlined with the exception of
"integrating new leaders.”

  Jerman uses the Dannemiller Tyson Associates MCG Model for Team Development from Whole-Scale Change because it is, “simple, compact and easy for non-OD users
to understand.” The model has three components: membership concerns (Do I belong? Who else is here?), control concerns (Who’s in charge? What is his/her style? Will I have/want any control?) and goal concerns (What do we need to accomplish? What do
I want to see happen?).

  “We use this model to develop the questions needed for step one of the process
(learn and make a meaningful connection) and making sense of the answers for step
two of the process (analyze your findings),” states Jerman.

  Jerman uses the Johari Window Communication Process from Edgar Schein to
analyze and motivate team members (see diagram on page 7). According to Jerman, “This communication model is great for facilitating the meeting and I use it hoping to
find elements of the conversation in all four quadrants of the Johari window.”

  Another key component of the model is the role of facilitator. “It may be helpful
(and savvy) to involve HR or an external consultant since a neutral, third party
usually makes it easier for folks to participate more fully and safely in a team
meeting such as this,” explains Jerman.

  Quick turnaround time is the final concept to implement. Jerman has done the
process with a turnaround time of one day, but two to three days is typical.

Taking it Step by Step

  Learn, analyze and meet. It sounds so simple, now learn what it all means.
To begin, it’s a good idea to send out a note or memo to the team describing the integration process and rationale for scheduling the team meeting (step three).

  The first step incorporates learning what members think of the immediate business environment by meeting with them one on one. The purpose behind this step is to get
to know team members and gather information simultaneously through individual interviews. The facilitator can ask questions such as:

  What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the team, department and organization?

   • What do you think I need to do to be an effective new leader?
   • What do you like best about being on this team?
   • What are your hopes and concerns during this leadership transition?

  It is important to pay attention to the environment of the one-on-one meetings and
what elements impact engagement. For example, lighting, tables acting as barriers, proximity to one another and sources of distraction can all influence a situation.
Jerman recommends not taking notes since note-taking can break contact with the interviewee. If you must, occasionally ask the person to stop talking while you jot
down your notes. Jerman offers this advice, “Your best tool for learning is your frame
of mind: suspend judgement, be curious and LISTEN.”

  Once you have met with everyone, you are ready to move on to the second step; figuring out what the group is saying from the information you’ve gathered.

  Step two analyzes and sorts your findings. Use peoples’ own words as much as possible to determine the emerging themes, concerns, strengths and challenges to present findings. Jerman points out that, “The reason why this process is so
successful is because the findings are based on collected data. This is not an
abstract process.”

  Jerman urges facilitators to prepare the report just like they would for a project
meeting where they want to share data. A word of warning: Opinions are a powerful source of data. Be careful not to draw conclusions...yet. Hypotheses and more
questions are encouraged. Your curiosity will generate a more interesting meeting
than presenting your answers.

  In the final step of the process, gather your team and meet to present the findings. Jerman strongly suggests having a facilitator at the meeting because a neutral third
party will be able to observe what is going on during the meeting, give you further
insights about the workings of the team and feedback on your leadership style to keep the momentum going.

  Keep in mind the goals and desired outcomes of the meeting. These could be determining the team’s two or three most significant challenges, how to address
these challenges and how to work with each other. Other outcomes of the meeting
stage are to document agreements and share these findings beyond the team environment if necessary.

  Three additional pointers that Jerman offers to remember are: “Speed is important. Initiate this quickly and minimize time between the first interview and the group
meeting; being promoted from within vs. being new to the organization will make a difference; and there will always be huge burning issues you think you should tackle before this process—it’s an illusion.”

If You Learn One Thing, Learn to Listen

   Jerman has found that truly successful leaders really listen and make a
connection with their team members.

  “Motivational listening is listening to motivate partnership,” explains Jerman.
“People need to know they won’t get hurt by talking with you. Listen with the intention
of truly wanting to see the world through their eyes.”

  Jerman implements the following listening exercise; “Working in pairs, one person
will listen without asking questions or making any verbal comments while the other person speaks. When the speaker is done, the listener will then repeat back in
his/her own words what he/she heard. The speaker will then let the listener know
how accurately he/she reported what was said.”

  During the exchange, both parties should also pay attention to the body language
of the other person. Once the listener has reported back, both parties should talk
about the other person’s body language and the messages it conveyed to them.
Then switch roles and do it again.

  Jerman offers one final point, “Sometimes leaders get confused about
organizational position and intelligence. Let me tell you, there is no relationship
between wisdom and level. Remember, you don’t live in the same world that the

folks you are talking to live in. That means they have access to valuable information
that you might need to create the great organization that you’ve been hired to do, so listen as if they are very, very wise. You will be amazed at how insightful and helpful
your teammates are.”


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