You are not cut out to manage. Why is your team hostile to innovation?

The word “change” in business is often accompanied by nervous tics in the eye area of ​​many managers and entrepreneurs. This is not just a word – it is a spell. Because it can instantly divide a team into three camps: those who are ready and have been waiting for these changes for a long time, those who would work “the old fashioned way” for another 100 years, and those who have not decided which camp to join.

It's easy to pivot when you are a startup and have a team of 5 people. But when a startup grows into a large company with 15, 20 or more employees, making big changes becomes more difficult.

It seems natural that some people do not accept the new order: new leaders, new KPIs and plans, new strategy. You can't please everyone. But team resistance can often become a blocker to a company's growth. What should a manager do at this moment?

Each manager will have their own voices in their heads. For some, they will whisper “fire them all,” for others, “they are like family to you, you need to listen to them,” for others, “how legitimate will it be for me to make changes without the consent of the absolute majority?”

These thoughts are natural. But among them there are those that are especially dangerous for entrepreneurs who want to grow their business. They can repeat themselves year after year, blocking new ideas and actions. About them – in this article.

“You are not cut out to rule”

Once upon a time as a child you were told that you could not draw. Remember? As soon as you pick up a pencil, and here it is – the whisper of the very teacher who, to put it mildly, did not like you: “Give it up, it’s not yours.”

Years go by, we haven’t seen the teacher for a long time, but the whisper has not gone away. He stayed and settled in our heads. And don’t be shy to show up. For example, when a manager tells the team “let’s introduce KPIs that will help grow profits,” and the team says “no, this doesn’t suit us,” his internal narrator begins to rationalize what happened.

Don’t even rationalize, but stifle: “I treat people with respect, so I can’t force them or make a decision without them. There are people who like to give harsh orders to others, but I am not one of those people. Apparently I’m not cut out for management.”

Let's stop and think here. Conflicts and disagreements are inevitable in any team where creative and ambitious individuals work. But The leader’s task is not to suppress their will, but to find a reasonable compromise, satisfying all parties. Listen to the objections of your employees, try to understand their point of view and find a balance between the interests of the team and the interests of the company. And make a decision (but more on this below).

These scales have one golden rule. They definitely shouldn't CONSTANTLY lean in the same direction. If you regularly ignore the interests of a business, it will turn into a charitable organization where employees will be the only beneficiaries. If you constantly ignore the interests of the team, you will have to build everything alone.

Finding this balance is a great challenge for managers. But also great power. On the one hand, managers mistakenly believe that effective management of people means suppressing their will through brutal pressure and dictatorship, if circumstances require it. On the other hand, they naively believe that the team will independently follow their interests if they establish “good human relations” with them. And also, the information field additionally inclines us towards one of the poles (that’s why you don’t see neutral news, everything neutral is uninteresting). For example, books about turquoise companies incline us to the pole about an independent team. And to the pole about dictatorship – books about the laws of power.

In fact, to run a company you don’t need to tell people how to live. You just need to build management so that people, achieving their goals, helped the company achieve its goals. Then those same “scales of interests” will always be in balance.

“Change is painful and will take a lot of your energy, effort and time”

Spark, storm, madness. Few people know, but these words from a famous song describe the thoughts of managers when they think about changes in the company. This process seems extremely difficult, terrible, bloody, and overwhelming. It doesn't even look like an action movie, but like a disaster movie.

Talking to your team about this process is as difficult as talking about breaking up with a romantic partner. And even if you speak, all proposals will be met with hostility.

When a team rejects new ideas, a picture of confrontation emerges. On the one hand, there is an entrepreneur trying to explain why everyone’s activities need to be tied to KPIs. On the other hand, there is a team that sees only problems in new KPIs. Entrepreneurs say: “We are not achieving our goals, so we need to update the motivation system,” and employees shoot this down with the words “Whose goals are we not achieving? Our goals are being achieved, everything is fine.”

At this point, different leaders will follow different scenarios. And many of the scenarios will indeed take a lot of energy, effort, and time.

Striving for the “turquoise” pole will choose the “change something only with the full consent of the team” scenario. And all resources will be spent on finding a solution that suits absolutely everyone.

This is the moment when the leader is not sure which path to choose. He begins to rush around and asks the team for help. Everyone begins to pull the blanket over themselves, offering their own solutions.

Sometimes we call it democracy. We arrange discussions, try to find a common solution, since it seems that we can take into account everyone’s opinion and make the right decision.

But in such a situation, the decision-making process often comes to a dead end. People argue with each other and with the leader, getting tired and heating up the situation. As a result, it is often difficult to achieve the desired result: either decisions are never made, or decisions are not made that are really needed.

Those who gravitate toward the “red” pole They believe that you can simply take people and build them the way you need, through forceful pressure. This approach is reminiscent of a scene from a blockbuster, where the main character, gritting his teeth, makes his way through impassable obstacles. The idea is simple: “I am a leader, which means I know better, we act my way.” They put everything on the line to achieve obedience, without thinking about the consequences of such “leadership.”

In this struggle for control, the entrepreneur begins to spend a lot of resources trying to cope with the strongest resistance. And the more innovation is pushed, the more resistance it encounters.

So, we are faced with the question: how to find a middle ground between these extremes? How to implement changes without playing “democracy” and becoming a crazy dictator?

Changes do not require Herculean efforts if the leader knows how to manage and organize the work of the team. What does it mean?

First, he has the competence to attract talented people to the team. Therefore, he is not afraid that dissenting employees will leave the company and new ones will have to be hired. For many, it is the fear of the departure of important employees who do not accept the new order, and the inability to find replacements for them, that blocks many innovations and, as a result, business growth.

Secondly, an entrepreneur knows how to build hierarchical relationships with subordinates and understands that the company is his and no one else’s. Responsibility for the success of the company also lies solely with him. And only he makes the final decisions about its activities. Yes, after hearing the opinion of the team. Yes, by listening to their point of view.

But every group has a leader who has the last word. And if you are not ready to be this leader, then an informal leader will arise in the team who will take the helm of team management from you.

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