In the first part of this series, we discussed how leadership assessments can help managers and executives become aware of behaviors that might kill initiative in the workplace. Once leaders are aware of problems with their leadership style, the next step is to understand why their team responds negatively to their behavior.
Every Team is Different
The first thing that’s important to understand is that a leadership style which is extremely effective in one company could be a disaster in another. One of the leader’s most important duties is to understand how they can enable their team to thrive. A great leader is one who inspires a sense of initiative in everyone who works for him or her. If you have become aware that your employees have no sense of initiative and you think your management style might be to blame, it’s vital to understand how your behavior is affecting your employees.
What Works For You May Not Work For Others
Imagine a person who came up under a boss who was extremely direct. When the boss didn’t like something the employee did, he didn’t mince words while telling the employee so, but he also wasn’t withholding with the praise when the employee did well. The employee thrived under this boss, because they felt like they always knew where they stood and had a strong sense of what they needed to do in order to make the boss happy.
When this employee got promoted to management, they took on their former boss’s style — being direct with employees, laying down the law, but also rewarding a job well done. However, the new manager soon realized that his employees seemed to be performing at lower and lower levels. People were starting to turn in the bare minimum when they completed assignments, and everyone seemed very serious whenever they interacted with the new manager.
While this person thought that they were being a strong leader, his employees felt like he had a dictatorial management style. They became fearful of his condemnation, and their work suffered as a result.
Now, this manager had the best intentions at heart, but his team simply didn’t respond well to his style. With awareness of the problem, such a manager could use team assessments to gain an understanding of what specific behaviors and actions he engages in that hold his team back. For example, perhaps his team members don’t feel like they have an opportunity to speak up in his presence, or maybe they feel like the good work that they do goes unrecognized.
Understanding which specific behaviors are holding your team members back can empower leaders to take the necessary actions for changing workplace culture.
We’ll talk more about action in the final portion of this series.