November 3, 2017 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” ~Unknown
There is a well known management axiom that says people don’t leave jobs, they leave their supervisors. You may be a new boss or just a bad one or a well intentioned one that just doesn’t recognize the impact of your actions.
Which ever one you are, this post is for you.
If you are in charge of a person or team, and you are struggling with productivity and satisfaction, there are several classic ways that you may be jeopardizing and undercutting your team’s development. You may have been promoted into the role without the proper training and coaching. It may be that you just don’t know how to lead and interact effectively with people. It happens to all us. You can overcome this but you’ll have to immediately stop certain behaviors:
- You won’t let go of problems or mistakes. You return to discuss negative events continually and look for faults in your employees.
- You won’t accept constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement. You can’t deal with disagreement from employees who have their own opinions about work-related issues.
- You break promises. You make up stories when you don’t know the answer to an employee’s question instead of finding out and communicating out appropriately.
- You cause dissension among staff members (either intentionally or unconsciously) by your actions and words.
- You fail to communicate, and lack clear expectations, timelines, and goals. You change your mind frequently leaving employees off-balance. You change expectations and deadlines frequently. Employees have trouble knowing where they stand and whether they’re meeting expectations. You forget that employees fail to feel a sense of accomplishment when expectations don’t exist or are not consitent.
- You use disciplinary measures inappropriately when simple, positive communication would correct the problem. You ignore employees until there is a problem, then pounce. You seek out the guilty when all you need to do is correct a problem with a well thought out solution.
- You take credit for successes and positive accomplishments of your team members. You are equally as quick to blame employees when something goes wrong. You throw employees under the bus. You criticize publicly. You praise disingenuously.
- You micromanage and by doing so, you lower productivity and job satisfaction.
- In the worst cases, you discriminate against employees.
Here’s how to avoid these mistakes:
- Learn – take a class on supervision and management and learn how to provide feedback, how to coach, how to conduct performance reviews and how to empower your employees.
- Let go – You can’t do everything and your team won’t learn if you don’t delegate and share decision making as much as possible.
- Get out of the weeds – Operate at your level – set a vision, be strategic, understand and articulate the big picture. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing the work of someone a level below you, focusing on minutiae, and micromanaging.
- Teach and coach – Development is an active job. You have to spend time with your team members, be accessible, share your knowledge and experience, and offer guidance and feedback. You can’t do that if you are constantly in meetings or behind closed doors. Consistent teaching and coaching is essential for team development.
- Trust and empower – You don’t have all the answers and no one expects you to. Trust that your team can come up with some pretty good solutions too and encourage them to give input, take risks, and share their opinions regularly.
- Acknowledge – Part of your job is being a great advocate for your team. If you’re not willing to share the spotlight when things go well or take the blame when things go wrong, then team development will suffer.
If you’re frustrated by your poor-performing team, it may be time to stop focusing on what they’re doing wrong and think about what you may be doing wrong. Chances are you’ll discover that the barrier to their success is you.
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Last thing, if you liked this post, consider checking out my other recent posts for inspiration and concrete actions steps to become more effective at work and life.
©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.