Even the best leaders have habits that make their teams crazy. Beware of these favorites that have been known to cause mumbling under the breath, a twitch or a knowing look within the team.
Do any of these look familiar?
1) One person’s problem becomes the team’s problem. Angie never turns her reports in on time and they are never accurate. Sounds like it’s time to call the team together for a meeting to emphasize the importance of timely, accurate reports! Meanwhile, everyone knows its Angie’s problem and they are wondering why you don’t. Save everyone time and have a conversation with Angie about expectations. It isn’t a team problem, it’s an Angie problem.
2) Managing by email. Have a performance issue? Send an e-mail. Errors that are causing problems with a client? Send an e-mail. Check in on the anxious new college hire? Yes, send an e-mail.
In business today, email is clearly the communication channel of choice. But, slow down and recognize when it just doesn’t fit the situation. Conversations are needed for the sensitive, the critical or when you need to show support. Email can only do so much, so show some e-mail restraint. Pick up the phone. If you are in the same office, you could even talk in person!
3) Keep giving new ideas when the team is implementing. There is a time and place for new ideas. It’s not when your team is communicating the new process to the rest of the organization or the day before the new product is being introduced. Agree when you are moving out of idea stage and into delivery and execution. Stand by it. Be a role model and save your new ideas for 2.0. Know when to stop.
4) Assuming that hitting send = same time you’ll get an answer. Some issues are urgent and require immediate attention, but most don’t. Recognize that your team has priorities and commitments that are impacted if you expect an immediate response on everything. Respect their ability to respond and get back to you in a timely manner. It doesn’t have to be this instant. And, don’t be the one who always remembers a top priority Friday at 5:00pm. Just don’t.
5) Give two people the exact same request just to speed things up. Yes, there are priorities that are constantly on your mind. But, giving the same assignment to 2-3 people won’t get it finished any faster. In fact, you’ll create confusion, double work and a ticked off team. Lay out clear responsibilities and the outcomes you want and let them get moving.
6) Keep rescheduling your meetings with them. Your team then has to change their schedules every time you do this, so you don’t even see all of the ripple effects with customers and deadlines. Of course, there are times when you have to move things around, but if you are a serial re-scheduler – it’s time to look in the mirror. Maybe you need to meet less often, shorten the time or agree to talk when you need to talk. But, honor your commitments whatever they are.
Even those good leaders and managers have habits that drive their teams crazy. We know you do a lot of things right, but doing away with these favorites will make your life easier and you a lot more popular. Trust me.