Diving into Being a New Manager

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Congratulations, you’ve been promoted! Your talent has been noticed, your stellar communication skills have made a difference and you’re now in charge of rallying a group of people.

Whilst getting results is about doing stuff, a lot about being a manager is asking the right questions to help shift people’s thinking to help them make decisions to get their own results.

You can support your team members by using the following simple framework.

It’s developed by coaches Karen Whittleworth and Andrew Gilbert and it’s called the OSCAR model.

Oscar stands for:

  • Outcome
  • Situation
  • Choices and Consequences
  • Actions
  • Review

Here’s how it works.

OUTCOME

Okay, so you and one of your team have both got a coffee and you’re settling down for a chat. This is where you get to figure out what he needs from your conversation.

You might ask “What would you like to take away from this conversation, today?” or “We’ve got 20 minutes to chat. What outcome would you like from our time together?”

Your aim is to figure out what he is after.

SITUATION

Next, you get into a little nitty-gritty. Ask him for some details of what the situation is and why it’s important to do something about it now.

Careful about getting bogged down in too much detail here. The main thing is to find out the general situation.

Good questions to move things forward and encourage motivation are “What’s the gap between how things are and your ideal situation?” And to find out how pressing an issue is “What do you think will happen if you just ignore this?”

CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES

First up: choices.

Here, you’re encouraging your team member to think of possible actions and put their own thinking caps on.

Note you’re not giving him the answer and fixing things for him.

This might help your ego feel terrific and win you points in the short term but in the long term you’ll be conditioning your entire team to form a permanent line at your desk so that you can do their work for them.

You could ask “What options have the best consequences?” Ask questions that heighten his awareness of potential choices.

If you’re met with a pained expression, a wall of silence and someone who’s stuck in a cul-de-sac try this technique – it lets you lend a little support but still keeps him in the driving seat to sort things out.

CONSEQUENCES

Ah, we could be here until the cows come home if we analyzed every possible, teensy weensy thing that may, might, maybe and could happen as a result of our choices.

Here are some angles to explore this from:

Time – What would be the short term and long term consequences if you did this?

People – Who will be in favour of this? Whose nose might be put out of joint and what can you do to overcome any resistance?

Practicality – How realistic is it that you can pull this off? Can it be achieved with the resources you have?

Money – What about budgets? Is there enough money available for this?

ACTIONS

Now that you’ve explored some choices and consequences it’s time to put together a plan.

Your aim here is to encourage the next steps to be pulled into focus and to gauge how committed your colleague is to this. So, you might ask, “Talk me through what actions you’ll take next” and “What’s the what, where, when and how for you?”

You could even dig a little deeper here with this question “On a scale of 1-10, how committed do you feel to do this?”

If he answers “6” you could ask him what would need to happen for it to be an 8. This way you can encourage him to think what would motivate him to go that extra mile.

REVIEW

The last stage lets you keep track of your team member’s progress on his actions.

By setting a time and date to meet again to review it encourages momentum and motivation to agreed actions.

When you next get together you can focus on how things have shifted with questions like “How far have your actions moved things forward?” and encourage reflection “What actions achieved the best results?”

OSCAR is there to support you support your team, one question at a time.

Try it next time you’ve a one-to-one session and see how you get on.

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