When was the last time you sat down with your direct reports to talk about expectations? You probably talk to them at least once a year regarding the expectations relating to goals and objectives. Have you talked to them lately about your expectations relating to their supporting company or division initiatives?
Every IT initiative includes some level of change for someone in the IT organization. If you are implementing ITIL, there may be quite a few people impacted. How is this information communicated to staff?
Your direct reports are delivering messages to the team every day. Are they supportive of the initiatives? Team members are listening and watching for cues relating to how leaders in the company feel about process and policy changes as well as projects. How a message is delivered directly affects how the organization is behaving in relation to the change.
Over the years, I’ve seen leaders indicate they were supportive in meetings but when they talked with others about the changes, they would make statements such as “I don’t agree with it but…” or “It doesn’t make any sense…” or even “I told them that this wasn’t the right direction…”. Each of these statements undermines the organizational change that needs to occur. The leaders were not being supportive of the change and the team’s behavior was tied to how the message was delivered.
If you haven’t talked with your direct reports lately about your expectations relating to supporting initiatives, you may find a simple conversation can have substantial benefits. I recommend defining the term “consensus” and then delving into how to apply it when delivering information to their team or talking about projects.
I define consensus as talking through issues and concerns in the appropriate setting such as a leadership meeting. Even if the team doesn’t fully agree, when they walk out of the meeting, they are supportive of the change. It is a simple definition.
Usually, there are a few questions but it ends up being a short conversation that is worthwhile to ensure everyone is on the same page.