A team is made up of team members, but it’s the manager who builds that team. He’s the one who brings people together and aligns them towards the goal. This is why they say that the success of a team largely depends upon the way a manager handles it.
But, that’s not how things work at offices. If you have worked as a manager or are working under one, then you must have observed that team members usually try to stay away from the managers. Why so? What’s the cause of this behavior?
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More often than not, this behavior has a lot to do with the way a manager handles the team. Here are some of the reasons that push employees or team members away from a manager -
1. Failure to make an emotional connect
Running a team is nothing short of running a family. As a manager, you’re the one who has to step up and take responsibility of everyone in your team.
Whenever someone in your family achieves something you praise them. At the same time, whenever they make a mistake you don’t judge them or blast them off in anger.
You discuss with them about what lead to the mistake and then reach to a conclusion so that the mistake does not happen. That’s exactly how you strike an emotional connect. Handling a team is no rocket science. You just have to follow the basic human behavior of showing empathy. But, that can only happen when you can connect with the team on an emotional level.
This is not to say that you must get involved in their personal life. Try to be empathetic instead of being sympathetic. Everyone likes being appreciated for good work. So, try to strike the chord with your team members where they feel appreciated rather than neglected.
2. Being too judgmental
Do you judge your family members on the basis of their behavior? I don’t. And, I’m sure no one does. Being judgmental is like tagging someone for something that he/she might not even realize that they are doing. Perhaps they are not aware of the mistake they are making. Or, they don’t understand how the process works. Maybe they were too confused in the workflow that they simply got stuck in the rut.
Anything can happen in a project, and anyone can make mistakes. The key, as a manager, is to not be too judgmental on the basis of a single mistake. Whenever you find someone lacking in their efforts or making a mistake, try and discuss the same with. See what they have to say about it. Maybe they have a different perspective of looking at things, which you are not even thinking.
So, don’t be judgmental. Get to know about their perspective and get on the same page so that there is no misunderstanding of any sort.
3. Playing blame games
Blame games can suck life out of the team. A healthy team requires every team member to trust each other. But, when blame games start to creep up trust factor is thrown straight out of the window.
It is a common scenario in corporate culture for the manager to try and take credit for success of a project. But, when it falls flat they are the first ones to put it on the team. If you have also been practicing something similar, then you cannot expect to grow in your career as a manager.
A manager’s responsibility is to manage people. Saying things like “You should have done it like this”, “I told you this won’t work”, “You are the sole person responsible for this” etc., can create void in the team, which is hard to be filled.
A great way to avoid these conflicts is to take the team together into everything. If it is a success, divide the credits equally within the team. And if it is a failure, then be brave enough to face everything with the team.
4. Micromanagement and bossy nature
Strategizing everything is the job of a manager. Creating a roadmap on how to take on the challenges in a project and then keeping an eye on how things are processing is what he’s supposed to do.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to get the detective lens and poke into every small step they are taking in the project. You don’t have to micromanage everything. Each team member is there for a reason, and they are there because they are the subject matter experts. To make sure each team member is accountable for his/her tasks, you need to give them the freedom to work according to their style.
A good way to avoid the conflicts and stay away from the habit of micromanagement is to indulge everyone in the decision making process. Rather than asking questions, let their results speak. Stay on top of everything by creating online discussions or virtual meetings just to ensure that everyone is on the same page. But, don’t interfere in every small detail of their work.
5. Lack of self-control
Anger and frustration are the signs that a person lacks self-control. Showering that anger and frustration on team members is simply going to kill the team. No team likes a manager who vents out his frustration at the team members.
There are bound to be challenges in projects. There will be ups and downs. There will be successes and failures. But, simply getting frustrated and angry when such a situation arises is simply not going to cut it. As they say, anger destroys a person’s thinking ability. So, if you are angry then you can expect the things to go from bad to worst. And, as a manager you cannot afford that to happen. Sometimes we are too bogged down by things in our personal life that we let the frustration show in our professional life. Don’t let that happen.
How can you get a better sense of self-control? Meditate, practice yoga or indulge in something that gives you peace of mind. Practice mindfulness and your mind come to a state of peace.
6. Inability to draw the line
There is a thin line that separates a manager who is loved by the team from the manager from whom the team wants to stay away. Being friendly is one thing, but being an intruder in their personal life is completely not acceptable.
It’s okay to ask the team members about their personal life once in awhile, but constantly poking them with questions about what’s happening in their life is simply not going to cut it. Being friendly is one thing, but being over friendly is going to push them away from you. You must know where to draw the line.
As a manager it is your responsibility to create a comfortable and friendly work environment. You need to take steps to ensure the same. Team bonding activities like weekend outings, going for a movie etc., are great as long as they are not interfering with your team members’ personal life.
These points are based on my personal experience as a manager over the past so many years. I’m sure there are others who will resonate to this post as well. If you are a manager, then think about it and see what wrong you are doing that’s pushing your team member’s away.
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Vartika Kashyap is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She currently runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.
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