Staff a little.....?
Are You The Problem?
You can probably guess from the title I struggled to think of the one appropriate word for this. I didn't want to use the word ‘negative’, as I didn't think that was fair. But the ones that seem to cover what I was trying to get at are reluctant, moody, down, pessimistic and generally just unenthusiastic. At some point or another, whether you are a Director, Manager, Lead or Mentor you are going to come across this, and hopefully you’ll want to try and fix the problem. But before you do there is one thing you will need to work out first, ARE YOU THE PROBLEM?
It Can’t Be Me
As Managers we may naturally tend to look past ourselves and put the root of any problem on something or someone else. After all we are Managers for a reason, right? Surely, it’s not us. Recruiters by nature as you are well aware are generally cocky and arrogant, some more than others but it’s a common trait, one that is beneficial to do the job, and then once we become Managers that justifies all that arrogance, right? Erm, no.
My point is, to repeat myself, is that because we have worked our way up, perhaps even out billed everyone else and earnt the right to be in a position of responsibility and power, we may believe our own hype and it won’t even occur to us that perhaps it’s our fault.
Now I’m not saying everything is always our fault, but if we are not even asking ourselves the question, and really asking the question and being open minded to what the answer may be, then we aren’t being the Managers we should be or our teams need us to be.
Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself
So, what do we do? Well first off, we need to be a bit more self-aware and assess ourselves, really assess ourselves and identify our own faults as managers. Are you always approachable? Are you always available if your team needs you? Do your team seem to be a bit nervous when bringing a problem to you? Do you huff when they ask for help? Do you spend more time criticising what they’ve done than actually helping them? I could go on, but my point is, unless you are aware of where your faults are then you may add to the problem or worse still, be the cause.
I strongly advise you do this. Go find an empty meeting room or wait until the train home and write down everywhere you think you could improve. I did, and it really helps, it really made me a bit more aware of myself and how I come across to my team or how they may see me.
You Want To Remove Yourself Completely
Once you’ve done this and have identified where you can improve on how you interact with your teams and put them into practice, then you start to take away the reasons where you were potentially adding to the problem. Which should have a fairly quick return. The goal being to take you out of the equation completely in regards to you being any kind of cause, which if you were the problem has now been solved, or it leaves you with a problem that you can now tackle more effectively without any negative effect from yourself.
The other trick of course is to be able to tell the difference between someone in your team just being in a bit of a mood or if there is something more to it. Everyone has an off day, we all come into work some days after rolling out the wrong side of bed. But if it’s a common occurrence and is happening more often than it should then you need to address the problem. Too many times I’ve seen it happen where people just get labelled as moody or negative and just dismissed, when in fact there’s a problem that isn’t being addressed. Are you just brushing it off as ‘they are always moody’ and ‘that’s just the way they are’? If that sounds a bit familiar then you may need to take another crack at that list of faults of yours.
It Lies With Us Not Them
This job has so many ups and downs, and when people are on a bit of a bad run then it’s only natural their mood may take a bit of a dive along with their billings. Everyone is different, everyone will act differently when they are down, fed up, struggling etc. And you are not always going to be the cause of the problem if at all, but if you can’t identify the signs then how can you help? Once you have and when you act on them, then that’s when you will have a real positive effect on the general mood and mindset of your teams.
As managers the responsibility lies with us, not them, so do your bit, do your self-assessment, ask for help or training on the areas you will struggle to solve yourself, don’t brush people off and just label them as ‘always negative’ address the problems. Because if you don’t, whether you like it or not then you will be the problem and before you know it, it won’t just be one or two members of your team it will be all of them and if that isn’t a wake up then I don’t know what is.
If you have any thoughts, please comment below.