You are a senior colorist at the cosmetic manufacturing company, Visage. You are also a Career Mentor for several other, more junior colorists. One of your mentees, Calista Taylor, is a colorist who is leading a project team for the third time in her 6-month career at Visage. The first two times that she led a team, she had a lot of guidance from you-you met with her in advance of team meetings to help her plan the agenda, you took phone calls from her after hours, and you listened to her concerns when they arose. You even set up a test run of the new product for the two of you to hash out any potential problems before Calista had to try the product with the rest of her team.
By all accounts, Calista has done well communicating with her teammates, and the technologists on her teams have been receptive to her lead. Some have let you know that if there was an opportunity to work with Calista again, they would be very happy to do so. Both projects were delivered on budget and on time, with only minor issues along the way. In both cases, the customer expressed high levels of satisfaction with the Visage team, and both customers were complimentary of Calista’s skills as a team leader. When you let Calista know that you think she is ready to run the next project team on her own (without so much hands-on support from you), she expresses apprehension. She is concerned that the project has a very ambitious time line for something so complex, so there will be little room for error. She also specifically questions how one particular member of the team, PJ, will respond to her when you are not there to back her up.
You point out that PJ is just one of the team of five and that the others are very happy to work with Calista again. You discuss the potential problems PJ might cause and reassure Calista she is “ready” for this next step. It is time for her to get out of her comfort zone and stretch a bit. She has agreed to take this next step but is still very nervous.
What type of communication do you need to maintain with Calista?
Since Calista is at an R3 level of performance readiness, you should use leadership style S3, which will be characterized by two-way communications, active listening, encouraging her input and risk-taking, while praising her to build her confidence.
If you had to schedule potential meeting times with her in advance, how often would you be willing to meet and discuss her performance, while still taking a more “hands-off” approach this time?
What are you going to be focusing on to see Calista’s development progress? What areas will you be able to gather data from to provide you with information regarding her behavior?
How can you maintain your positive relationship with Calista, while still pushing her to “stretch” and grow?