So There’s a Problem on Your Team…by Jim Johnson

No manager/leader will ever have a career where everything goes according to the plan.  Something is wrong on the team you lead. The wheels get wobbly on the wagon.  Sometimes they fall off.  Sometimes you have folks in the wagon that you wish were on someone else’s wagon.  Stuff happens.

There are times where a turn-a-round is a pretty simple fix.  Then, again, you’ll be faced with a team that is out of sorts – with each other, with you, or both.  Those times can be tough.

As the leader of your team, it is your responsibility to keep everyone on the same page, right?  Your boss will expect this of you.  Your company’s culture, I’m sure, demands it.  Teams that don’t function appropriately quickly stand out.  Managers who lead these teams also stand out.  So if you’re “stuck” in this situation, how do you handle it?

First, own it.  Whatever is happening…whatever has been said…what ever is the complaint…own what you can of it.  Take responsibility.  There is truth in difficult situations.  Find it and act upon it.  Yes, there will be drama, lies, and innuendos.  Stay clear of those.  Acknowledge the truth and act.

Second, understand your role and your team’s role.  As the leader, you will be setting the tone and leading the charge towards change.  Your team will be watching you.  That’s good.  Model the appropriate attitude and behaviors.  And know that it’s not all on you.  Each member of your team needs to be committed to helping the team out of its hole.  Personal opinions and biases get in the way.  Leaders can fall into the trap of blaming the team.  The team will talk about the leader behind his/her back.  Everyone is looking for a personal win.  But in business, “the house wins”.  You and your team needs to realize that the success of the business is paramount.  The best scenario is to bring alignment from both the leader and the team to what will be the “win” for the company.

Third, communicate.  If things aren’t going as you wish they were, don’t stop communicating.  You are still the manager.  Tell your team where they are succeeding.  Share with them where they are not.  Communicate change clearly.  If you don’t, your team will fill the “holes” with what they assume is happening in the change.  

Fourth, coach.  Spend significant time moving your individual team members forward.  A difficult team environment is not an excuse to stop developing your team.  They need you more than ever.  Keep the conversation on personal growth and your team’s/company’s metrics.  Don’t get caught up in the drama of one employee talking poorly of another employee.  Keep the conversation on what that team member can control and encourage them to meet/exceed their goals.  Give them the resources to do it.  Be there for them.  

Fifth, listen.  If you don’t, someone else will (i.e. HR, CEO).  Practice active listening.  Ask questions and then listen.  Take notes.  Follow up and follow through on what you hear.  Your team has a voice – listen to it.  

If you’re in a rough team environment, take heart.  You have what it takes to lead them out of it.  Keep short accounts with your team.  Don’t ignore bad behavior.  And by all means, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT your interactions with your team.  You’ll be glad you did.  

You are a team leader.  If your team is off track, lead them back on it.  It won’t be easy.  But it’s your job, right?  You can do it.  


“Nothing will work unless you do.”  Maya Angelou



4 Reasons You Hate Your Job (and how to fix it) by Gwen Moran

Despite the emphasis on employee engagement on everything from innovation to customer service, people just don’t like their jobs. A 2013 Gallup report found that around 70% of workers are not engaged in their jobs. ANovember 2013 survey from and research firm GfK found that 15% of U.S. workers dislike or hate their jobs.


Leaders, we have some problems, according to some experts. Like any good plan to turn around a bad situation, the first step is awareness. Here are four of the most common reasons employees despise their 9-to-5 gigs–and what business leaders can do to solve it.

1. This Job Is Pointless

If your employees don’t understand why their jobs are important, chances are they’re among the ranks of the disenchanted, says consultant Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work that Makes You Proud. She developed the concept of “noble purpose,” and she says it applies to everyone in the company. It’s not enough to go to work every day in exchange for a paycheck.

Solution: You need to communicate and reinforce employees’ roles in delivering something that matters. That’s going to make a difference in job satisfaction, even if there are parts of doing the job that they don’t like, she says. Talk to them about the company’s core values, and how each role fits into the overall vision to make a difference. Having “that lens of ‘noble purpose’ on your work helps you pick and choose the things to focus on,” she says.

2. My Boss Is Terrible

U.K. online staffing firm Staffbay’s December 2013 survey found that a whopping 87% of employees don’t trust the people they work for. Executive coach Kathi Elster, coauthor of Working With You Is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work, says that when managers don’t give proper direction or worse–micromanage–trust is damaged and employees become resentful.


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Manager’s Mantra: Walk the Talk, Give Credit, Admit When You Don’t Know by Ron Thomas

“No one thought it was a great idea, especially my boss. They finally gave in because I pushed so hard. Well you know what? It was the best and most popular part of the show. Everyone raved about it, however, I am sitting here incredulous because on the call my boss took credit for it all. I can’t.”

That statement came from a Millennial I know who is beyond disgusted with her job. She loves the company but the manager wants all the credit.

I have always said that you learn more from bad managers that you do from the good ones. My response to this woman was to schedule an offline meeting, and the major point of discussion should be work-projects and ownership. At least you are drawing a line in the sand, but do not get your hopes up.


Give credit where credit is due

My view of managing people is that you must enable each of them to grow. I want people to leave a better person than when they were when they first met me. I want them to always keep in mind the positive approach to people and their development.

It is like with children you raise and how you want them to succeed and do great things with their life. That has always been my mantra. Even to this day, I get notes and calls from my former people on their accomplishments, or as they fondly say, “Ron-isms.”

The opposite of that would have been for me to hog their limelight. So, you must give credit when it’s due.

Don’t take credit for your employees’ ideas. This not only fosters resentment but also makes you seem untrustworthy, and the untrustworthy label is a brand that you want nowhere near you as a manager.

Being deemed untrustworthy is the kiss of death. So if you are new to management, learn this first step and keep in mind that if your people do not trust you, you are done. The ballgame is over.

Always looking for signals

As a manager, are you knowledgeable about YOUR job? Can YOU get the job done?

Your group always take notes at every interaction. If you come across as being a fake, they will pick it up in a heartbeat. Trustworthy bosses have the skills and experience needed to get the expected results, and if they don’t, they acquire them.

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