When I learn about better ways of managing, I often feel silly for not knowing earlier. And, instead of implementing immediately, I sometimes get shy and procrastinate on it.
This makes no sense. If it’s a better way of doing things, I should just start doing it immediately. The sooner I start, the sooner my team and I will start benefiting.
I don’t know what causes us (and I say us, because I believe it’s a common thing) to be shy about changing our approach mid-stream. There’s something that inhibits change within us when we feel other people watching (even though they’re likely paying little attention).
Perhaps we’re embarrassed that we didn’t know earlier. And changing implies that we were doing it wrong before, which we don’t like to admit.
Or maybe we’re worried people will think we’re a fraud and say “who the hell do you think you are?!”.
Yes, it would have been ideal if we’d set things up the ‘right way’ from the beginning. But, we don’t enter leadership roles (especially our first one) all-knowing and all-seeing. Instead we learn as we go, about management and leadership, and about our team and organisation.
And, of all the times I’ve implemented a better way of doing things, none of these fears has been realised. Sometimes the change has failed or pissed people off. But never has anyone accused me of being a fraud or hopeless for not doing it sooner. And, even if they did, it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been worthwhile: why limit ourselves to a lowest common denominator view?
There’s a Chinese proverb that I love, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is nowChinese proverb
So, much like the proverbial tree, the best time to improve your management approach is now. And you don’t need to make big changes. Just keep learning about, critically selecting and implementing incremental improvements. Getting 1% better every week means you’ll be twice as good in a little over a year.
Getting 1% better every week means you’ll be twice as good in a little over a year.
Don’t procrastinate. The reality is that whatever is holding us back is likely a function of our insecurities and not a good reason for delay. And your team will be grateful (once they adjust to the change), because the sooner you start implementing the change, the sooner they (and you) will start benefiting from it.
One question for you
What’s one management improvement that you could implement this week?