In my 15 years of providing virtual support for businesses and having been the one to handle teams in many of the projects I worked on, I saw and heard first hand the ways in which business owners frustrated their teams… quite open without intending to, or even realizing it.
Here are the top 9 ways that you may be driving your team nuts.
1. Changing your mind and not committing to a plan
If you want to get the most from your team, then you need to decide what you really want ahead of time and commit to a plan. Ideally, 90 days out.
Every single time you change your mind? That’s resources and hours of work wasted. Worse, you will also deplete the team’s energy and creativity.
Having to do things over and over again will not only frustrate your team, but you’re also paying for work you no longer want or need. This also puts your team in a crunch having to fast-track your new idea.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not to say that you can never change your mind – we all do it at times. But when it’s the norm vs. the exception (ie: bright shiny object syndrome), that is really going to drain your team.
2. Not giving them time to get to know you and your business
Did you know that it takes at least 90 days for someone to really get to know you and your business? This has been tracked and tested for years now and as someone who has been in the business of hiring and managing teams, I agree.
You know your business inside out, but the people working with you – especially the new ones – have a lot to learn about how your business is run.
Sure, they can still do great work while they learn, but you need to manage your expectations and be OK with the fact that they won’t absorb everything overnight.
There will be questions. They will need to clarify stuff. Be OK with that.
3. Expecting them to read your mind
Communication is key to successful team leadership. Your role as a leader is to be clear in what you want from your team. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a simple task or a big project. Be clear in your requests, the deliverables or results you want, and the deadline.
Let’s stay away from the “just keep up and figure it out” culture if you want to get what you want. Simple as that!
4. Expecting your team to work nights & weekends
You are welcome to work anytime you like, but don’t expect your team to keep the same hours that you do. I have worked with creative entrepreneurs before and I noticed that their most productive times are in the evenings and weekends. If you’re the same and in your enthusiasm throw stuff at your team during odd hours and expect a deliverable right away, that’s a red flag right there.
I love it when my clients have brilliant ideas, but I also remind them to have a realistic timeline so they don’t put their team members in a bind.
Got an awesome idea on a Saturday afternoon? Note it down or voice record it so you don’t lose it. Then share it with your team when everyone is back to work.
If you are in the middle of a launch and it’s “all hands on deck” then you want to plan ahead of time for folks to put in extra time – that’s fine – but again it needs to be the exception and not the norm.
5. Micro-managing your folks (or not giving them anything at all)
If you have made a clear request, set your expectation on the deliverable and have given them a deadline, then it’s time to let them do the job.
No nagging, please!
You don’t need to know how they are doing every step and you don’t need to keep checking in with them all the time (unless they are late with the work). I know many a recovering control freak so I get that this can be hard. But, as long as they get the work done, it doesn’t matter how they got there.
Likewise, don’t hire someone to help you with someone and then never hand it over. You are wasting their time and your money (and probably keeping yourself “safe” doing work that shouldn’t be on your plate anymore).
6. Not doing YOUR job so they can do theirs
There are times that your team needs something from you in order to do their job. Every time you are late on your part, it has a trickle down effect that throws off the entire team, making everyone late.
If you are late for some reason – we all are from time to time – let them know that you will be late and adjust the timeline accordingly. For example, if you were to get them something on Monday so that it could be ready for Wednesday, but you can’t get it to them until Wednesday, then their timeline needs to change too.
7. Rescheduling or avoiding team meetings
I am a firm believer in a weekly team meeting with your key players – so that you can check in on progress, get updates on projects and clarify upcoming projects/work.
In the businesses I work with, I have a weekly Operations Update with the CEO and a weekly Office Hours call with the team to keep everyone in the loop of what’s happening in the business. These are also great opportunities to make clarifications or to raise issues that need to be resolved immediately.
Many problems arise when leaders don’t make a weekly meeting part of the ongoing communication or connection with their team.
Every time you reschedule a meeting with a team member – especially if you do it regularly – you are essentially telling them that they don’t matter to you. If your team matters to you then honor your commitment to meet with them weekly.
8. Taking your stress out on them
We all have our moments. We all get stressed out from time to time as leaders. That doesn’t mean you get to take it out on your team members.
I experienced this before and had to confront the CEO about it. When the CEO refused to change her attitude, I decided I’m out.
And I’m honestly surprised how often I hear more stories of leaders snapping at or yelling at their team (even worse when it’s in front of others). There is never a reason to yell at a team member – even if they screwed up. If you are angry or frustrated, find a way to “vent” that before you communicate. And if you do have a grumpy moment with a team member, make sure to own it and apologize.
9. Not allowing people to grow within your company
When team members feel valued, they will often stay for years.
Why? Because their client got to know their goals and aspirations. They looked for ways to give them an opportunity to grow with the business and try new things.
Don’t try to keep great people in a role they no longer want or have outgrown simply because you want them there (they will quit at some point). If you want a team that will stay with you long term, create a space where they get to grow.
I’m curious, which of these surefire ways to drive your team nuts do you know creeps in for you?
Hit reply and let me know! I’d love to discuss ways to make your team sign your praises.