Oftentimes managers express frustration over the behaviour of their employees complaining about their failure to take initiative, failure to accept responsibility, laziness or even the teams inability to work together. But managers forget that they are the ones who set the culture and behaviour of the team and often practice the same behaviours they themselves complain their employees of doing.
Teamwork: Managers hope and seek to create a strong department with a teamwork atmosphere, but when those same managers gossip, put down co-workers or fellow managers they are fuelling the lack of teamwork and showing their employees that teamwork is not important. You should not be discussing any disagreements you may have with peers, senior managers or other departments. Address any issues with those people or groups directly and not to your employees.
Continuous Improvement: Managers always want their employees to be constantly improving in their growth and development to help improve the team but often it is these managers who feel too busy or don’t see the need for their own personal growth and development. You have heard the saying before “practise what you preach” and this is actually what you should be doing. If you as a manager preach growth and development to your team, you should be showing your team that you are doing the same. Ensure that your employees and yourself are trained in the “soft” leadership skill areas of communications, running meetings, decision making and coaching.
Priority Setting: Managers who are stressed or overwhelmed tend to respond to every little concern or issue that comes up, thereby telling their employees that they should be doing the same type of micromanagement. This leads to short-term crisis overshadowing longer-term strategies and prevents the team from having clarity. Take a look at your calendar and inbox or keep a time log to determine how you are spending your time. Likely many of the activities you are involved in don’t need you to dive into such a level of detail or not even need you at all. Learn to delegate to others and your team will see this new effective style of leadership.
Taking Ownership: Managers tend to say employees are unwilling to accept personal responsibility for fixing problems or dealing with issues but when those same managers blame more-senior management or others for organizational problems, they are showing employees that this is the way to avoid responsibility. Ask your team for ideas on “biggest barriers to reaching our department goals,” “major implementation issues we need to address,” etc and have your team identify those items that you can directly control, can influence, or don’t control at all. Discuss how you can all accept and let go of the things you can’t do anything about. All of this helps the team and yourself learn what they need to take ownership of, that they can suggest ideas for improvements or how to deal with things out of their control.