By Grevis Beard, Co-Founder & Director, Worklogic
You may be familiar with the saying, people don’t leave their organisation, they leave their boss. In fact, one Gallup study actually revealed that one in two had left their job to get away from their manager.
So if you are managing a team, take a little time to consider how your team are behaving. You may be the worried well, and your team is thriving, with your staff genuinely and proactively seeking your guidance, raising ideas for how to further improve processes, and sharing knowledge. If so, all well and good! No flight risks there, and sounds like you are an open and approachable manager.
On the other hand, if your staff appear to be disengaged and unmotivated, your team turnover is high and your staff appear to be actively avoiding you, then you will seriously need to consider whether aspects of your management style and behaviour are causing this dynamic.
So what is your style?
Here are a few questions to get you thinking:
Are you truly approachable? Is your door not only physically open, but is it “psychologically open”? Do your staff proactively approach your room or space and feel comfortable being there? If there is nervous hovering, ask what is driving that?
Do you genuinely wish to hear what your team’s ideas and opinions are? Or are you a “my way or the highway”? Think about whether, even subconsciously, in meetings or one-on-one situations, you tend to shut down conversations or “move things on” if you are not hearing what you want to hear?
Are you an effective decision maker, or are you an avoidant one? Do you put off making decisions, such that the team “works around you”, and you are actually out of the loop?
Are you unable to control your emotional response to what is any type of “bad news” or feedback from a demanding client? How visible is this? Do you even know that is how you are coming across? And whilst you may think that you are able to hide your feelings of extreme responses from your staff, you may not be as effective at this as you think (or hope).
If any of these ring any bells for you, then that’s great that you have insight.
Too often, managers are in denial about their part of a dynamic and can be prone to “blaming the team” rather than reflecting on how the current workplace culture of the team has been influenced by their own management style. Everyone can always, of course, further improve how they engage with their staff. Where you may be exhibiting the traits above (whether it is of unapproachableness, command-and-control, avoidance, emotionally labile), think about:
Taking time to hear, listen and respond to staff concerns. Practice that now. It will take time to “turn the boat around”. Seek feedback over time from your staff about this and indicate that you are trying to be more available. Sounds confronting, but your staff will be impressed by your candour.
If your team are wise, then demonstrate that by hearing what they have to say and implementing any suggested improvements. No-one has a monopoly on innovation.
Reflect on obtaining a conflict management coach for dealing with your emotional extremes when in a “conflict” stressor zone.
Each of these can further help you on your way to improving how you engage more productively, and happily, with your team. Good luck!
Meet the author, Grevis Beard at the ALPMA Summit in September
Grevis Beard, Co-Founder and Director, Worklogic
We all know that culture is a critical enabler of future success for law firms. And we're all aware of the significant influence that firm partners and leaders have on setting the culture of the firm. But what do you do when a senior partner, leader or rainmaker is modelling bad behaviour, and setting a tone which is damaging morale, performance and employee retention – and potentially your firm’s reputation?
In this presentation, Director and co-founder of Worklogic, Grevis Beard will explore:
'Rainmaker' syndrome - the immunity of certain people who are seen as irreplaceable, and seem to get away with anything
How the culture of an organisation can allow bad behaviour to thrive
Leadership: what gets traction, compared to what’s needed
The fallout of tolerating bad behaviour
Grevis then will share five practical steps you can take to shape the future culture of your firm.
About our Guest Blogger
He co-authored “Workplace Investigations” (Wolters Kluwer, 2018). Together with co-director Rose Bryant-Smith, Grevis has also written “Fix Your Team”, published this August 2018 by Wiley.
“Fix Your Team” gives managers the tools to rectify team dysfunction.
Connect with Grevis on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grevis-beard-44aa4027/