Feeling frustrated with behaviours you’re seeing in your team?
If you’re like most of the corporate and business leaders I’ve worked with, you’re very clear about what’s not working in your team. You’re tired of people turning up to work late. Your patience is running low with people who spend too much time chatting and not enough time working. And when team members bring their disagreements to you for solving, you either want to explode with anger or run as quickly as possible in the other direction.
I mean, these people are adults, right? They should know how to behave, shouldn’t they?
What are you focusing on?
The problem is, the more you spend your time focusing on what you don’t want, the less time you’re focusing on – and communicating – what you do want. They say “you get what you focus on,” and so what you’ve been getting is more of the stuff that drives you crazy.
The time has come to define how you actually want your team to work. The good stuff. The ground rules. The things that make you fall on your knees and thank your lucky stars that you’ve got such a brilliant team.
How to get clear on what you want
Well, frustrated leader, what you probably don’t realise is that you are in the perfect place to get absolutely clear about how you want your team to behave. Because it all starts with what’s driving you crazy right now. And you’re an expert in that, right?
So here’s an easy 3-step process to turn crazy into clarity – and it’s easier than you think.
List what’s driving you crazy
First write down a list of all the behaviours you’re seeing that you do NOT want to EVER see again. Be exhaustive. If the behaviour of a team member has frustrated you in any way, put it on the list.
For example: showing up for work late; asking for an extension one minute before the deadline; letting you see a client with spinach in your teeth. Basically, anything that made you feel like wringing someone’s neck, or else made you feel cowardly because you didn’t know how to handle it.
Play the opposite game
Now that you know what you don’t want, identify what the expected behaviour would have been in each case. What you’ll end up with is a list of how you expect people to behave.
For example: always be punctual or early (and call if that’s not possible); if there’s a risk you’re going to miss a deadline let me know as soon as you know; if I have food in my teeth (or my zipper’s down, or anything that might embarrass me) speak up and let me know.
Share the list
Share this list with your team. Seriously. Start the conversation so that people are truly aware of what you expect from them. Generally, people want to live up to expectations, so make them explicit.
If sharing the list is going to be too challenging for you, at least have the expected behaviour ready to trot out when you see the unwanted behaviour next time around. You’ll be able to say, “I expect that next time I have spinach in my teeth, you’ll tell me straight away.”
Now that you’ve got this list, you’ve done yourself and your team a big favour. Clarity is power, and when your team know exactly how you expect them to behave, you significantly increase your chances of turning your driving-me-crazy team into a team you’re truly thankful for.