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Stepping into a Leadership Role Can be Hard – Try a Process Approach

I have been talking about Jen in my last few blogs. Jen knows how to get the job done, customers love her, and her co-workers flock to her for advice. Because of her outstanding performance, Jen went from being the “fireball” producer to the new Operations Director. Jen experienced success in her operations role for 10 years. But now something is different. Jen and her team have not been working together like a well-oiled engine anymore since she became the Operations Director. The team is at a crossroads, and so is Jen. In my work with leaders of small to mid-sized companies, I see this crossroads happen quite frequently. It is easy to assume that shifting roles should be easy, especially individual contributors to leaders. Take Jen, for example, who knows the business like the back of her hand. She is an ideal choice for a new leader. However, by putting Jen into a leadership role, the team experienced the strain of her heavy workload. They still expect her to do the work and she feels obligated to help them get the work done. Now Jen needs to lead the team and brainstorm strategic solutions, but she is struggling. She’s torn and feeling frustrated. If you are a senior leader in your organization and have recently experienced a situation with your own “Jen,” now is the time for you to step-in and offer up some resources. Consider a different approach – process mapping. There is no better way to see what’s really going on than to put pen to paper with process maps.

Process maps inform decisions about next steps. Process mapping sessions harness the team’s expertise in a collaborative environment where they can design new and different ways to get the work done. Teams work better together when they create together, and a stronger sense of camaraderie happens among the team because everyone contributes. There are more hidden advantages to process work. Figuring out who’s doing what, why, and how opens up communication, clarifies hand-offs, and sets expectations for everyone to succeed. Process maps are also great onboarding tools. And if you have regulatory considerations, process maps visually represent policies and procedures to your auditors. If you have a “Jen” who has hit a crossroad and you would like help to jump-start your results, contact me to set up a time to talk. Get your team working like a well-oiled machine again.

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