I recently worked with a client who was incredibly frustrated with his business. He founded the company, and it has grown to nine employees. He loves the solution the company provides to its customers, but he finds himself not wanting to go to work each day. He is stressed, and his blood pressure is through the roof.
When we worked to narrow down the stress points in his business, it revolved around his discomfort around his employees. He felt like he has to walk on eggshells to keep them happy. He knew they weren’t really happy, but he didn’t know what to say or how to say it. They are skilled at what they do, so he didn’t want to lose them, but didn’t know why he couldn’t really feel good about his relationships with each of them.
He just didn’t feel like he could be himself.
This person was never trained on how to lead individuals or teams. He always figured that when people are hired to do a job, they would do it and he would tell him what he liked and didn’t like about how they did it.
That may have worked with the first hire or two.
What he didn’t really take into account is that with every additional person brought on to the team, the challenges of leading that team grow exponentially. Each person adds additional dimensions to the team make-up so that it is ever more challenging for a team to function seamlessly.
And for my client, it had become so challenging and frustrating that his health was suffering.
Many people start a company or are thrust into supervisory positions without the training that equips them to lead. That leaves them to figure it out on their own, and perhaps doing it by the seat of their pants. Or, just figuring that one size fits all, and that everyone is there to serve them and meet their needs.
Each of these approaches leads to employees who are frustrated and resentful. Often they leave because they don’t feel appreciated or valued. While this may not be the case, they and the boss don’t seem to be able to meet in the middle.
Unfortunately, unhappy employees become unproductive, costing the company a lot of money.
So, it is actually in the company’s best interest for the leaders and supervisors to receive basic, and then more advanced, training on team leadership, communication, conflict management and resolution, providing feedback and holding people accountable while still encouraging success, things to do so they don’t discourage initiative, and so on.
Leadership isn’t rocket science, but it gets complicated. The leader’s values and past experiences add complexity. Each employee’s needs, values and past experiences also add complexity. And the more employees there are, the more goes into that mix.
No wonder many bosses and leaders get stressed out! So many people, tasks, and attitude to juggle!
So, with my client, we started at the beginning. First of all, we spent some time uncovering his values and belief systems. Then we set about defining his vision in a way that allows him to include his team members. Finally, we worked together to strengthen his leadership ‘mechanics’ or the actual actions he takes in leading the team.
After some time, my client feels more confident and aligned with his team. He feels like he knows them better and understands what each person needs to be successful. And, through my work with the team, they feel much more confident in him and his leadership style.
And, finally, he doesn’t hate his job anymore and his health is getting back on track!
It was definitely a positive result for the company.