A Motorola manager was promoted to manage a new team of individuals, 4 of whom had actually applied for the job. In his first act as their new boss, he committed to helping these manager-wannabes get ready to take his job.
Richard was recently promoted to manage a new team at Motorola, a position for which many people at the company had interviewed, including 4 guys on Richard’s new team. Richard knew he might face some resistance from them.
Reject Richard or reject themselves?
Of course Richard’s 4 guys would be reluctant to embrace Richard as their new boss! They just got turned down for the job that he got. This creates conflict in their minds. If they support the selection of Richard, it would mean they agree with being rejected for the job. And the only thing worse than being rejected is agreeing with the person who rejected you!
Addressing the pink elephant
Immediately after taking on his new role, Richard met with each one of them to address the obvious. He said, “I know you interviewed for my job. The reason that you were not chosen has nothing to do with your skills and everything to do with your lack of exposure to senior management. So here’s what I’m committed to doing this year as your new boss. I want to help you get that exposure so that senior management gets to know you. I want you to be in a position to take my job when I move on.”
Who does that?
A manager with moxie.
Amazed, they each accepted Richard’s observations, thanked him, and agreed to be mentored by Richard to gain that exposure and prepare themselves for a future opportunity.
It’s called a career path for a reason
Richard is cognizant that he is developing his career, not obtaining a job for life. The reality is that his job as a Manager of this new team is only temporary, like all jobs, until he is ready for the next role on his career path. Part of being
ready is preparing his successors so Richard can welcome a new opportunity without hesitation.
Hardwired to hold ourselves back
What do most managers do? They allow their egos to dictate their actions. They need to be needed, like all humans. As a result, they cling steadfastly (and shortsightedly) to their current job, failing to recognize that this is but one role on a long career path. In addition, they cannot imagine that someone else could possibly do their job as well. Wouldn’t that mean that they aren’t as important as they had convinced themselves?
Bottom line: we are each hardwired to hold ourselves back. We sabotage success when we allow our ego and fears to reign.
Identifying your successor takes moxie
When we rewire ourselves and identify people to succeed us, we are committing to helping them be bigger, bolder, and smarter. This makes us bigger, bolder, and smarter.
Anne Mulchay, former CEO of Xerox, identified her successor when she formed a partnership with Senior Vice President Ursula Burns and mentored Ursula to step into the huge role of running the company. Upon Anne’s inevitable retirement, Ursula seamlessly assumed the role of CEO of Xerox.
Putting ego aside for others’ success takes moxie
Let’s dissect Richard’s actions so we can learn a few things from his moxie in motion:
(1) Richard made it all about them. Richard put his ego aside. He didn’t talk about his new role as the manager or his plans for the team, and he didn’t ask their opinion about what Richard should do differently as their new boss – that would have been just a roundabout way to talk about Richard the new manager.
Instead, Richard made it about them. He focused on their goal of being job-ready for a manager role. He made the world revolve around them in that first conversation. In doing so, Richard made each one feel important, respected, and valued.
(2) Richard didn’t dance around the issue. Richard addressed the issue immediately. He didn’t pretend that they hadn’t applied and been turned down for the manager job. He didn’t delude himself that he could just win them over with his personality. Instead, Richard confronted the issue head on.
(3) Richard freed the failure demon. Because these guys took a chance and didn’t succeed, they are likely to hesitate before taking chances in the future. We all loathe failure because in our minds, rejection follows. Richard refused to let these chance-takers paint this situation as “failure.”
(4) Richard taught them to bounce. Most people react. They get defensive and fling excuses, quick to blame other people and circumstances for why they didn’t succeed. Reacting is easy. It’s responding that takes moxie.
By addressing the reason they were not successful in their bid for the manager role, Richard was encouraging them to understand what they need to do next time to be successful. Extraordinary managers help people to respond instead of react.
(5) Richard gave them a battle cry. Richard distinguished between work-effectiveness and job-readiness. The 4 guys are effective in their jobs, and now just need to become job-ready for their next job. This was their battle cry and Richard committed to working on it with them.
A battle cry is the heroic exclamation we call out as we run onto the battlefield. People wage many battles every day when they come into work, and they need a battle cry to rally them to victory. Extraordinary managers help people to create their battle cry.
Richard, the manager with moxie
Richard clearly operates with a moxie mindset. He is committed to the people on his team being bigger, bolder, and smarter than they were before they met him. He is determined and relentless in this commitment, gutsy in his approach, and spirited and enthusiastic in his interactions with them.
The moxie mindset
When a manager fosters a moxie mindset, he becomes a manager with moxie, and a manager with moxie always expects the same mindset from others.
Managers with moxie don’t tolerate excuses, blame, compromised commitments, lack of accountability, or failure of integrity. They scoff at the status quo and never settle for complacency or mediocrity.
Richard is already a breath of fresh air for his new team, but they are in for a cage-rattling experience, one that raises the bar of expectations for everyone and guarantees the victory of battles.
Know any managers with moxie?
What’s your perspective? Know any managers with moxie? Share your experience with us on our facebook page or by commenting on this blog.