Why isn’t My Team Doing What I Want Them to Do?

Are you a new manager?

In my coaching practice, I have many who are new managers and want to become better ones. They often come to me wondering why their team isn’t doing what they want them to do.

New managers come with many pre-conceived notions on how to motivate people.

Notions about leading, communicating, directing, giving orders, managing.

Or they come with none at all.

You marry that with their past experiences and we see this bundled with a set of their own fears and triggers which make them frustrated and hinder their ability to manage.

If only the workplace was the military where orders are given and need to be followed…!

Twenty first century humans of the work force are complex creatures with many motivations, needs, and levels of skill. In the past, workers were treated like robots and things didn’t end so well.

Instead, we have a lot going on in a corporation that needs to be dealt with as a manager:

Office politics.
Teaching and growing others.
Team building.

And many others.

With my new manager clients, we work on all these areas one by one to build confidence and skills so that not only they will shine but also the people under them as well.

Why post on this today? This week I’ve had several new managers come to sessions. One of my favorite systems I talk about is the Situational Leadership model developed by Ken Blanchard many years ago. It still holds up well when I first read his book, Leadership and the One Minute Manager.

Looking at the graphic, you take a look at your team members and put them into the appropriate quadrant for their level of experience and skill. Then you adjust your level of direction and autonomy appropriately.

So for the new college grad, you would not want to just give them full autonomy on a project and just set them loose without any training. That would yield an unhappy employee who feels directionless and unable to know what to do or where to start.

Instead, they would feel and operate much better if you were more directive on exactly what to do and how to do it.

Contrast that with the experienced employee. You would not want to be so directive; that would make them feel like they were micromanaged and that their years of experience was not respected. Instead, you give them more autonomy and higher level goals, and let them have more freedom in achieving those goals in any way they see fit.

So much happier employees, adjusting your direction to their level of experience and comfort.

If you’re a new manager (or even an experienced one), may I invite you to check it out? You can find them at Situational.com or buy Leadership and the One Minute Manager for a quick look.

What are your struggles as a manager? Post them in the comments and let’s see if we can help you out!

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