Leading comes with a myriad of challenges and obstacles. There are numerous reasons for and catalysts of the downfall of a team or group of employees. But what about when the largest factor in a team’s disfunction is the leader themselves? What are ways leaders sabotage their own teams and how do we avoid these behaviors?
For many, friction is uncomfortable and there are multiple ways people work to circumvent any chance of conflict in the workplace. But whether it is holding an employee accountable to a deadline, disagreeing with a motivation, or enforcing company policy, a strong leader knows that confrontation is inevitable. The most effective leaders anticipate conflict and manage appropriately. If they are direct participants in the conflict, knowing the difference between emotions and factual statements is crucial, although both may have merit within a conflict. If the leader is outside of the conflict, knowing when to intervene and when to allow the issue to play out, is important as well.
Whether the organizational values are expressly written or merely alluded to in training and onboarding, a leader’s words and actions should be consistent with what is said. Hypocrisy can cause immediate points of contention and will be observed by staff.
Lack of a Process
Employees want clear steps for how to proceed and to complete the tasks that fall within their job description. When this communication fails, they are left floundering and feeling incompetent. When looking at a goal, take the following steps-
1. Delegate (be specific)
2. Empower (help them succeed)
3. Celebration or Consequences (depending on the outcome)
Lack of Showing Accountability
While some employees may begin with a strong sense of self-motivation, it is not uncommon for employees to need accountability. And every employee should be held accountable for their work, for their successes and their misses. Not only does accountability ensure that jobs are being done according to their description, but it also provides opportunities for feedback and connection to what the company is doing. While accountability doesn’t have to take place every day for most employees or with every task in a position, it should happen regularly. Just as imperative is that leadership is also held accountable, to their own guidelines and standards and to their assigned jobs as well.
Assuming the Worst
A good leader needs to trust their team and, if that trust is lacking, it needs to be addressed in a responsible manner. Leaders who stigmatize individuals or groups with negative perceptions whittle away at those stigmatized and their opportunities for involvement with other employees as well. As a leader, the entire organization looks for how each member of the team is valued or not, and takes that lead.
Turnover happens for various reasons, but high turnover frequently points to larger issues within the structure of the company or leadership team itself. If high turnover is occurring because of management specifically, there are many negative consequences that could take place. It is difficult to build trust and rapport within a team itself when the members are continually changing, and it’s certainly difficult to do so when you are always worried if you are the next to go.
Evaluate why staff turnover is taking place and cover gaps within training, communication, support, and resources that leadership can cover to retain quality employees. The additional time and resources placed into building the team you have in place could save losses in the future.
Understanding the expectations you have on your team is imperative in good leadership. If a team member is scrambling to meet an unrealistic goal, one set arbitrarily, they may put forth sub par work or the stress may magnify negativity that could otherwise be dispelled. Conversely, if a deadline has been altered, but that was decided flippantly or not communicated, a team member may experience a different kind of stress when the product is delivered.
Collaborate, when appropriate on what a good deadline would be and discuss checkpoints for input or feedback. Clear and consistent communication through every portion of a goal provides connection and furthers accountability.
Front Line can help leaders evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and work alongside you to make your team effective. Please contact Robert Winter at (832)483-5535 or contact us. Strong Leadership is possible with Front Line.