Top manager who nearly resigned

Shelley is now regarded as one of the top performers in her whole region. However a year ago she was ready to resign.

One Friday afternoon Shelley had received a lot of work for her team late in the day. She accepted the work but couldn’t see how they could possibly do this extra work on top of their heavy workoads. She stewed all weekend and came in on Monday with only two options, to force the work on the team or to walk away. For Shelley this was the straw that could break the camel’s back.

Alternatives to resignation
At a coaching session on the Monday she considered some new options. She put action on hold and began to identify her goal and actions in the situation which were:
  • decide whether she did wish to resign
  • do a reality check and then
  • list options and
  • commit to a way forward

Shelley decided to stay and gave herself one month to address the situation. She was keen to identify the skills she needed to be effective on the job and to enjoy her role.

Working with paradox
Shelly identified her own need to develop a greater understanding of what happens when someone manages their own team with a focus on learning and support within an organisation that operates a strong hierarchical culture.

Shelley accepted that her personal style clashed with the current organisational culture. Nevertheless she wanted to operate effectively within that paradox. She decided that she wanted to be able to handle her own frustration more effectively.

With the help of her coach Shelley developed:
  • the skill of “taking a walk on the balcony” as a way of buying time when a potentially explosive phone call or email arrives
  • the practice of getting up from her computer and walking to the table in her office while taking a call and using phrases that bought her time.
  • a range of meeting skills which gave her more options.

Variety of communication styles worked
Shelley then realised that she wanted to get her message across with other managers. She needed to vary her own communication style to be successful. She began working on making transitions, shifting gear and using mental rehearsal to think about different ways to lead into her ideas.

One year later Shelley realised that she had made great progress and was enjoying being a manager. She was leading her team and was handling the tendency to panic by buying time before responding to difficult requests. Shelley began noting her own successes with motivating the team and with working with other agencies. Her commitment to professionalism was communicated to the whole team and as a team they gained a reputation for top quality work.

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