Situation 2: COMPANY LANGUAGE

Femsy, still new in Co-Colours, shares the office with her peer Mansy. The work and communication style in the company is very different to what she is used to.

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Femsy feels uncomfortable and insecure.

A great leader:

  • Has confidence in her abilities and is self aware;
  • Understands how organizations work and how she can get things done both through formal channels and the informal network;
  • Relates well to all kinds of people in and outside of the organization (bosses, peers, subordinates, customers, suppliers etc.);
  • Believes in open communication and combines directness with empathy;
  • Easily gains trust and support.

How to best handle the situation:

Behavioural expectations vary amongst corporate cultures. What works in one company may not work in another one. Joining a new office implies that you will run into people whose work and communication style are different from yours, so:

  • Observe your colleagues, step outside your bubble, make the first move and look for positive ways to interact with them:
    • Drop by their offices, call them on the phone, engage in information exchange;
    • Become part of the informal conversations in the hall way, before and after meetings or at lunch;
    • Go out for coffee.
  • Keep an open mind and ask questions in order to understand how the organization works, how you can get things done and what the reasoning is behind key policies, practices and procedures. A buddy can also help you to understand the unspoken rules.
  • Show your boss that you’re open to constructive criticism.
  • When you are part of the network only then you can position yourself for information exchange, being part of potential assignments and sponsorships. As a result of this you will be building trust and getting support for your initiatives.

Learning suggestions:

  • Take the time to do a formal relationship mapping exercise of internal stakeholders. Discuss your stakeholder relationship map with your boss and ask him/her what s/he knows about the people, their communication style, their interests, concerns, etc. Then determine the best way to engage them in your initiatives.
  • Are you shy and you don’t want to appear as such? Reach out first, ensure consistent eye contact, ask the first question. Practice by talking to strangers off work. Set a goal of meeting 10 new people at a social gathering. Find out what you have in common with them.
  • Are you seen as arrogant? Learn to read your audience. Understand how people behave/react when they feel uncomfortable with you. Make sure the person feels comfortable with you before “real business” starts, i.e. by asking a question unrelated to the business topic, offering him/her something to drink or share something personal.
  • Leaders are readers. We strongly recommend you to read “The First 90 Days; Proven Strategies for Getting up to Speed Faster and Smarter” by Michael D. Watkins.

Femchallenge:

Do you know:

  • Who are the most successful people in your company and what makes them successful? 
  • What are the competencies most valued in your organization? Which are the least valued?

 

Read more about Co-Colours and Co-Colours Team.

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