Julia was accurate in describing her situation. She was a woman in a male dominated work environment, and now, she was the manager. Her team wasn’t downright hostile, but she would have to earn their respect quickly. There were changes that needed to be made and her boss was expecting results in short order.
“How will you bring value as the new manager on the block?” I asked.
“I think it is important for each team member to understand what I expect from their role on the team.”
“And, how will you do that?”
Julia thought briefly, struggling between what she really thought and what she figured I wanted to hear. “I am going to schedule an individual meeting with each person.” She stopped to check my reaction before going on.
“Okay. What is that meeting going to sound like?” I prodded.
“Questions, I am going to ask questions and listen. I am going to ask questions about what they think their job is, what they think their role is.”
“And why is that an important question?”
Julia knew it was important, but she had never thought about why. Suddenly, she knew. “Before I tell them my expectations, I need to find out where they stand. I need to know how far apart we are. It’s a guarantee we will start from different places. I need to gauge the distance of the journey to find that point where we have common ground.”
I smiled. “The point of intersection, that’s a good place to start. How do you get there?”