A leader often has to deal with numerous dynamics in managing her team. It could be apathy. (Which I have written about in the past here.) Another challenge a leader may have to deal with is a frustrated team. Leadership can be the cause of frustration for their team, hence the importance of identifying possible reasons why your team is frustrated with your leadership. Here are some of the reasons why teams get frustrated:
- Undermined: your team is frustrated because of being undermined. One of the ways to undermine your team is entrusting them with tasks that aren’t challenging enough. Undermining can be blatant or subtle. Are you constantly telling your team they cannot measure up? In word or deed?
- Huh?: Your team doesn’t understand where they are going or supposed to be going. As leader you (should) see the vision more vividly than anyone on your team. It may be that your vision is only that clear to you. Does your team get the vision and how they fit in as clearly as you do? If your team doesn’t see the vision clearly as you do they are not going to be as passionate about it as you are!
- Goal posts: Your team is frustrated because you keep moving the goal posts without giving any reasons. Also, teams will be frustrated when they do not have any participation in setting goals whatsoever. Allowing your team to be part of setting goals in one way or another will help them own them. Also the team doesn’t know when they have scored. To help combat frustration and other challenges with the team, help them know what scoring is for them.
- Model: in another post I stated that leadership development programs are sometimes overrated at the expense of leaders being the epitome of leadership for the teams and other leaders they lead. Your team is frustrated because you have higher standards for them than you have for yourself! Nothing is as upsetting for followers than a leader whom fundamental rules do not apply. One of the best ways to teach the leaders on your team to lead is by being the example
- Ka Ching!: as leader you haven’t followed through with past promises & are making more. Never make new promises before fulfilling your old ones! This is often a foundation of distrust. Do not make promises that you cannot keep. When you are going to fail in keeping your promises communicating this with your team will guard trust.
- They Really Cannot: your team is frustrated because they’ve been given responsibilities that are really out of their league. It is the leader’s responsibility to understand what his team can handle. Challenge your team in a way that will stretch them for growth, not discourage them.
- Droids?: in all the goal chasing you do never forget you’re working with people. In another post I wrote about the relationship between people & programs. You can read it here. Your team. Could be frustrated because you have pursued goals / vision at their expense. Instances where the whole team or part if the team needs to put in extra will always arise. However, the leader must not just care about the welfare of the vision but if the work force that makes it happen! Team maintenance is a must! The best leaders know how to love & care for their people. Team leader, there must be a balance between work & care for the workers! Your team is the most valuable resource you have.
- Standards: It is always prudent to embrace the importance of context. However, there cases where the same context and events will reoccur. For such it will be of great advantage for the leader to have standards set. Another reason why your team is frustrated is differential treatment. This can be in how you handle disciplinary measures to them being rewarded or scolded for the exact thing under the same circumstance. Do you reward the same action and under the exact circumstance punish it tomorrow? Be very clear about what you reward and how you handle the aforementioned occurrences. You team is frustrated because you are not consistent! Say what you mean and mean what you say!
- Hammer, No Nails: your team is frustrated because they have hammers & no nails. Giving your team an assignment without the adequate means to make it happen is guaranteed to frustrate them. Always ensure that you have aptly equipped your team to fulfil the tasks handed to them. It is irresponsible leadership to give tasks & not means to fulfil them! Empower your team!
illustration: David Chartier, flickr (cc)