Are you a COACH, PATRON, or INVESTOR? As a leader in this new working world, you need to know.
This morning I was thrilled to see a note in my inbox from someone who’d recently received a bit of the “Joanna magic” when she approached me after a recent speaking engagement. She’d landed the kind of opportunity she was hoping for, one that balanced dreams for work and her dreams for her life. I’m thrilled for both her and the team she’ll lead. It’s an “everyone wins” type of situation.
You might think I’m about to unpack our transformation and how we went from “I don’t think my current role is for me, but I have no idea how to fix it.” to “I’m so excited for my future.” Reader, you should know by now that I’m always looking to the future. I reminded her that while she should celebrate this milestone, she needed to remember she was on a new opt-in adventure and not miss out on this unique opportunity.
Let me explain.
What I see so many people forget when they get a new job is (other than the person who hired you) that there’s a whole new company full of people who need to learn how to opt into their perception of the Future You. You might have the title and (I hope) a lovely introduction from your new boss, but they might not entirely opt into you yet. I know, we all get this, when we start a new job, there’s that long period of onboarding where you’re introducing yourself over and over again. You find yourself giving each person a mini crash course on who you are and why you’re excited to work there. At the same time, you’re trying to figure out who THEY are and how you can opt into them. The whole experience is both exhilarating and a bit exhausting — a little like those feelings we had on the first day of school. We’ve all read about the importance of your first 90 days and the impact they can have in getting you up to speed. It’s also why so many companies have dedicated teams to employee onboarding. And the most successful onboarding programs solidify a new employee’s perception of potential at the company and make it even easier for them to Opt Into a future. It’s a critical step in the process and can have make-or-break ramifications if done poorly. I don’t think I’m telling you anything new.
I don’t think we discuss an interesting dynamic in this process.
When stepping into a leadership position (through hiring or promotion), your new team needs to opt into a future with you. Unlike the rest of the organization (peers, other leaders, other colleagues), you have the power to determine their future as their new boss. It adds a layer of complexity to the Opt-In Equation.
Think about it for a second. When was the last time you got a new boss? How did you feel? Did you try to ensure they understood who you were and what you were doing? Did you try to get to know them to understand how they made decisions and what they were thinking for the future? Did you wait for them to sit down and share their vision with you and your teammates?
It’s a weird and scary time, right? The list of unknowns for someone who reports to you is significantly longer than anyone else. And we all know that “weird and potentially scary” do not co-exist with “confident and creative”; it usually means the opposite.
In the same way, you’re going through employee onboarding so you can get up to speed and hit the ground running with confidence and enthusiasm, your team needs onboarding with you, and you need onboarding with them.
So how do you start doing that? I have several questions I think new managers should ask beyond “Hi, So what do you do?” I’d like to suggest this simple question.
“What kind of leaders have you found to help you do your best work and be your best self?”
This question alone is going to give you insight into who they are. You might even find they might not even know. So let me amplify this question with a little framework.
Change the conversation to this:
I’m going to share three different leadership styles with you.
The Patron — someone who recognizes the impact of your #potential and is actively investing in your transformation to become the person you could be. Your conversations aren’t driven by what you can’t do; they’re driven by what you can do. Patron bosses often seek opportunities to push you out of your comfort zone.
The Investor — someone who is confident you will deliver on #results. Who rely on you to get the job done as they trust you know how (or will figure out how) to make it happen. Investor bosses often look for opportunities where they’re confident you can make the magic happen.
The Coach — is someone who is responsible for making sure you have all the tools and resources to get the job done. Like a high-performers athletic coach, they provide clear and actionable feedback, ultimately improving you. Coach bosses are often looking for opportunities where you’ll learn something new.
If you think about your career, I’m sure you’ve found that you do your best work with one of these types of leaders. I, for example, do best with a (fill in which one works best for you — a little vulnerability helps here) boss. So tell me, which one works best for you? I’d also love to understand why.
Based on their answer, such a simple conversation should accelerate trust between you both. Step one of helping you opt into them and them opt into you.
Now what? It’s time to choose your future.
- If you’re stepping into a new leadership role. Well, you’ve got your instructions; go have the conversation with your team and be awesome. Oh, and drop me a line and let me know how it goes.
- If you’re leading a team already, this also applies to you. Do you know the answers to these questions? Are you guessing? It might be worth finding out, no?
- If you’re someone with a boss (yes, this applies to you, too) don’t worry; I have you covered too. Just reverse the question and ask your boss what kind of leader they think they are. I wrote about this a while back. You can find it here.
Have a question for me? Click here to submit.
PS. Yes, if you hire me to speak at your in-person event, we always talk about Transformation opportunities for your audience. One group had me do 10-min Transformations for six consecutive hours. We made a ton of magic happen.
Ideas from the Opt-In World.
If you’re just reading this email, you’re only getting a pinch of what I have to say. See what I had to say since the last note.
- I had a random chat in the comments with a Photographer about connecting on LinkedIn today and what to do if a connection ghosts you. He had some great questions.
- This entire thread on Twitter talked about the timing of shipping products. It’s also a brilliant insight into how to think strategically about your career path.
- There’s a wonderful trend on LinkedIn where people offer their time and advice if they’ve been let go. Of course, I had some ideas for people who wanted to take advantage of this gift. Check them out here.
- “Why Your New Ideas Aren’t Catching On and Why You Need to Leverage Friction Theory To Change That” I listened to this podcast twice. Some fascinating constructs and while the guest was talking about selling your products at a company, remember your Future Time is the product others are opting into so all these ideas apply to you too.
Have an idea you want to share? I want to Amplify you too!
I’m consulting with companies, teams, and individuals on how to apply Opt In approaches to their organizations, creating curious, creative, and collaborative teams in a world full of ambiguity. We make it easy for people to opt into themselves, to you, and to each other. Because if they’re not opting in, they’re opting out.