Randy has built his career in Fincorp over the last 15 years. He is well regarded for his impeccable ability to deliver. About 8 years ago, Randy was instrumental in building and delivering after-the-fact analytics. His team members worked very closely with him and he would personally ensure that they all succeed and he shielded them from the external world till they developed their own wings. He was handed over the charge for now building the AI team about 18 months ago. While he’s in the forming stage of this team, all his people have got reassigned to new cross-functional teams, in the new Agile way, for their daily work. He has been told to build and nurture the capability, and not get bogged down by delivery.
Randy is totally disillusioned with this change. He has no control over his team. The team also feel they are dispersed and are worried how the new business leader perceives them.
As Randy’s manager, what would you do now?
First of all, as Randy’s manager (M), it’s important to acknowledge the fact that such a large change in Randy’s (R) work can be disconcerting for Randy. The change in R’s work is caused externally and not by R’s own volition.
From the information provided R has been successful in handling technology changes and nurturing people through the technology changes. So as M you need to help R feel comfortable that he’s capable of not just handling change but leading through the change.
As M, first help R understand the new value that R will create. Then understand the real underlying apprehensions of R.
Work with R to understand what are the alternatives that are potentially available in this environment. This could be the challenging part for R. He could feel that there are no viable alternatives. Help find the spark in the new role. Explicitly give some suggestions. Build on the theme where R sees some value.
Similarly, understand the apprehensions and the underlying cause. See where R needs hand-holding, where R needs just a sounding-board. Ensure that you can get R feel comfortable while making mistakes or feeling helpless.
Help R understand and demonstrate that R’s a valued leader. This can help R to not cascade his uncertainty to his reportees.
But be careful not to disparage the new way of working. If there are genuine short-comings in the new model, raise it up the chain for resolution.