What Managers Fear the Most

Right now, somewhere in you, you are suffering.

And part of that pain is inevitably a resistance to change. Here, I’m going to tell you the most-resisted change that keeps leaders and managers from success.

Your relationship to change and the way your people relate to change is the most important asset you have. It is the most upstream and powerful lever you have.

Before you say you embrace change like a champ, let me caution you. Telling yourself you love change—because you know that’s a “good attitude”—is a trap because it enables you to not be curious and look at where that isn’t true for you.

It’s inevitably mixed: some change we embrace, some we fight. You’ll benefit from looking at where you fight more than focusing on what you embrace. This isn’t a positive thinking thing, it’s about getting real.

When my clients take the teachings of Clear and Open seriously, it creates change in their organization and in their life. The single greatest indicator of that change is employee turnover. I know they’re really doing it when people start quitting or get themselves terminated. When that’s not happening, usually the client is still warming up to the idea of real change.

Why is this?

When your current employees came to work “for” you, they did so under a set of conditions that includes your demeanor, your values, your management style, the culture of the business, etc. When you change any of this significantly, you change the game they signed up to play. If they are unable or unwilling to play the new game, they either quit or get themselves fired. I’ve never seen an exception to this. When they’re really doing it, they turn over 20-50% of their people, depending on the difference between the old way and the new.

Does that scare you a little bit?

Understandable: that’s your resistance to change.

When you raise the bar, not everyone will make it. If everyone makes it, you probably didn’t truly raise the bar.

I wish this weren’t true, but it is.

I’ve been coaching for over sixteen years and I’d say only about 10% of my clients were willing to take change this far. The thing they resist most is letting people go and/or changing the game such that people leave.

This is one of the fears I’ve been wrestling with related to my new design, and why I put it off as long as I did. This is likely the last blog I write with the old design. Will my new design alienate you? Will nobody like it? Will it appeal to the kind of people I want to attract?

It raises the bar for how I operate and with whom I work. Will I be able to meet its standard? Are the kind of serious, biased-for-action, no BS clients I’m looking for out there in numbers? These and many other questions and fears semi-consciously are on my mind every day we work on this. I can’t tell you how excited I am to cross the finish line when the internal wrestling match ends.

What is your fear telling you about change? And what are you saying in response? What people do you have that you’re not willing to lose, but may be holding you back?

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