Do Not Be That Manager: Seven Tips to Avoid Being a Roadblock to Your Team

by | Aug 11, 2020

Let’s just get this statement out of the way now, disagreements and personality clashes in the workplace are inevitable. There is going to be conflict, and it is not always going to be comfortable. Each person has their own way of doing things, and your management style must allow for this.

Results from a Fall 2012 survey “Conflict Management and The Adaptive Organization”
(Source: ARTSFWD)

Whether you are managing teams remotely, or are still in a physical workplace, you want to help your organization move through disputes, not add to them. 

It is easy for small differences and problems to turn into more significant issues that disrupt workflow and collaboration, which can make your team members feel disengaged and uninspired.

So, how can you manage conflict, communicate with your teammates, improve team collaboration, and be a leader that inspires your team instead of distracting them? 

We’ve been in your shoes. Check out below what we learned about managing conflicts in the workplace: 

You Could Be Doing More Harm Than Good 

It’s time to throw the “management handbook” out the window, and meet people halfway. You have to adjust your management skills to the individual needs of your team. And this involves: getting to know them and improving trust in the workplace by means of effective internal communication. 

Your job isn’t to breathe down the neck of your employees; instead, you can make everyone’s life easier by recognizing what is working and what isn’t. You can do this by giving constructive feedback from time to time, acknowledging wins – big and small, and keeping your lines open to any of your team members.

Here is my example: 

I was a writer and communications associate in my previous career. My team leader at the time asked me to work on an extensive writing project. They gave me the usual set of directions: topic, length, scope, and who the audience was as well as some style guide preferences. I did what was asked and then submitted. I waited a day or so for revisions and feedback that never came. 

On the second day, I walk past my manager’s office to see them working on the article themselves. They did not have a career in writing and were neglecting their own duties to jump in my lane. They may have thought they were helping, but in the end, they micromanaged. Ultimately, their version didn’t go well with senior leadership, and the project came right back to my lap. 

Yes, you should always set standards and expectations for your team. Nevertheless, the goal is to go from an attitude of management to one of leadership. Ultimately, leaders must trust their employees and empower them to do the work they are trained to do. 

No one wants to work with a manager who doesn’t trust them even if they have shown that they can be trusted—or someone who doesn’t try to make life less complicated for their teams. 

What makes a good manager and leader, and how can you avoid being a roadblock to your team? Take a look below. 

Seven Tips to Avoid Being a Roadblock to Your Team 

We’ve all been there. We remember that manager that made life harder and almost seemed as if they were intentionally or even unintentionally working against the company’s best interest. So, here are some things to avoid when developing your management and leadership style. 

1. Stop Micromanaging Your Team 

If you feel you have to monitor the company chat channel to see if your team is online, or check-in multiple times a day, you need to determine why you do not trust your team. You have to remember why you hired those people to bring their talents to your company. If you can’t, then this can be an indicator of a more significant problem. 

It’s either you need to improve trust in the workplace with your colleagues, or you might need to find a better fit for the job. Regardless, no one likes to feel like their manager is watching their every move. So, give your team some space while being there for them. They will make mistakes, but it isn’t the end of the world if they do. Allow them—and yourself—to learn. When you practice a good level of transparency in collaboration, you and your team will be able to conduct root cause analysis and rectify errors almost immediately.

2. Failing to Provide the Information They Need 

Think about the last time you had to go through multiple people just to gain access to a Google Doc file, find a password for a WFH tool, or receive clarification about something. How annoying was this? If this is happening to your team, your colleagues likely feel the same way. Take out the unnecessary back-and-forth emails. Have one place where your team can find the relevant information they need. This is especially important if you are managing teams remotely, as it isn’t always easy to access people you need quickly. 

3. Failing to Communicate 

This one is a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. Miscommunications can be like kryptonite to an employee’s workday, especially for those managing a team remotely. You need to be clear about your expectations and use the proper channels to convey this information. This situation is not the time to be vague or leave messages up to interpretation. This time is where the skill of over-communication can come in handy. Never assume that people know what you mean. So, after you send that email, give a follow-up call to see if your colleague understands what is being asked and has any questions. They will appreciate the gesture in the long-run, and you will improve your team communication skills. 

4. Setting Unrealistic Deadlines 

No one knows how long something should take than a worker who has consistently completed that specific task. Therefore, it helps to coordinate with your employees before you set deadlines that are not realistic. Be sure to set up your workflow so that you have enough lead time to let employees do the necessary work. A collaboration tool can definitely help with this. However, tools cannot be a substitute for a robust workflow strategy that will help your teams in attempting to meet deadlines that don’t make sense. 

5. Not Addressing Toxicity 

One of your jobs as someone managing teams remotely is to make sure your team is not letting conflict take over the workflow. Your goal is to mediate and shut down any toxicity (including gossip, tension, hyper-competitiveness) before it becomes a huge problem. Again, there will be disagreements within your team, and some of them may even include you. Nevertheless, all clashes should be channeled into healthy team communications that bring solutions instead of more problems. 

6. Failing to Get To Know Your Employees 

Each person on your team is different and has unique needs. This situation means that you have to take the time to learn your team’s personalities and customize your management style to suit them. It will make your life easier and will let your colleagues know that you care to know them well enough to trust them. Trust in the workplace is built when professionals take the time to get to know one another, sincerely. So, use those remote work tools to set up some virtual activities for you and your team to bond. 

7. If You Wouldn’t Want to Deal With It, Your Teammates Won’t Either 

No one wants to work with a manager that hurts more than helps. We can all remember situations when managers and those in leadership became an obstacle to overcome. So, put yourself in the shoes of your teammates and try to be a source of support. As you manage teams remotely, your goal should be to improve team communication and encourage more trust in the workplace. A recent study revealed that many workers leave their jobs because of their managers, so do what you can to motivate instead of becoming a roadblock. 

Conclusion

Managing teams is not always easy and team leaders are required to play a far more hands-on role to make sure that the team is focused and happy while working together. Management skills of team leaders need to be updated regularly so that they can learn the new norms of remote working as well and last but not the least, remember, “effective managers lead to effective teams”.

Finally, managing teams will play a crucial role in this new technology era where remote working is the new normal way of working for a lot of industries. We know that working together as a team remotely can be discouraging and more struggling. But that’s why we are here. Get Started with us and see how managing teams remotely can be fun and easy. 

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