Tina’s management team complained to her boss about her leadership style. Not only were many of them on the verge of leaving the organization but her style was also taking its toll on the 100 plus employees she was managing. Her staff was saying things like:
• We don’t know what’s going on because she never shares department information with us.
• We hear all the bad news, never the good stuff.
• Our meetings are a series of reports, information, data and detail.
• There is never any time for us to contribute our ideas, solve problems, or brainstorm solutions together.
• We have had some turnover, and now have a number of positions unfilled. We are all working like dogs, but no one new is getting hired.
• She told us she would involve us in the interviewing process, but nothing has happened there either.
• It all feels like she doesn’t trust us.
Complaints like these are all too familiar. If your employees come to you with complaints such as these it isn’t good news but isn’t all bad either. What it does indicate is that the AL’s style may be working against them.
Employees who thrive on participation, involvement and collaboration resent any actions that feel like micromanagement. Their manager’s lack confidence in their skill sets which undermines their ability to act.
When teams are more diverse, a clash of styles often occurs. People who are naturally optimistic and upbeat view the AL as pessimistic and a downer. Those who operate in a fast-paced-make-it-happen universe are frustrated by the slow, snail-paced response they get. Those who relish making a contribution through collaboration and participative management feel left out and under-appreciated.
With a little effort, the AL can adopt successful strategies that will help bridge the gap between styles. Here are 10 AL strategies for success:
- Create a positive, friendly atmosphere up front; then get down to business.
- Be sociable and personable (smile more). Connect to your people.
- Foster a participative relationship by seeking data, information and analysis from others.
- Support your position with opinion/position of other influencers, not just with data. Explain the “Why”.
- Provide details in writing but don’t dwell on them. Communicate the big picture.
- Be sensitive to micromanaging and over-detailing; focus on the “What” and ask others the “How”.
- Seek options and solutions from your team before making the final decision.
- Instead of remaining silent, send out signals that you are listening, (i.e., “Let me think about that and get back to you.” That sounds like a good idea. Let’s talk about it.”)
- Don’t dismiss creative approaches just because you didn’t think of it already. Ask for more information and a clearer explanation.
- Offer opportunities for recognition, incentives and leadership.