In the previous post, we met Brenda – first time manager. To recap, Brenda actioned two strategies with her new team which placed her and her team in a good position for the future.

These two “easy stuff” items were:

  1. Being specific with her team about the outcomes she expected them to achieve.
  2. Being specific with the actions she expected of each team member.

Implementing these two actions ensured everyone in Brenda’s team was aligned with the same goals and were working towards achieving these goals.

Continuing to develop Brenda’s ability in leading and managing a team, this post looks at the ‘hard stuff’ you need to be prepared for, if and when it is needed.

The hard stuff

Managing a non-performing team memberavoid conflict

Brenda had spent time with her team and each member identifying the goals she wanted achieved for the business as per the above agreed objectives. As a result, mini-goals were being achieved and celebrated and Brenda noticed an uplift in the morale among the team. Everyone was enjoying being at work.

Everything was going well until Brenda heard rumblings about Mike. Mike, by agreement, was to be the first team member at work each day and the first to leave. With his early starts he was able to work on outstanding tasks from the previous day.  One of his goals (KPIs) was to follow-up unanswered emails to honour the agreed 24-hour email response commitment.

Mike’s colleague, Sarah, was surprised one day when he hadn’t turned on his computer by the time she arrived and was disappointed when he asked her to take on some of his work instead.  She reported her concerns to Brenda.

Brenda knew she needed to find out what was going on. During her conversation with Mike, Brenda asked general questions about whether he was happy at work and enjoying his role. Mike confirmed he was.

Then Brenda explained what Sarah had relayed about Mike. Apparently he arrived late that morning and knew he wouldn’t meet the 24-hour email response KPI so he asked Sarah to help. Mike was embarrassed. He apologised to Brenda for letting her down. Brenda confirmed with Mike that he agreed the KPI was realistic and that he was happy to be the nominated early starter. They agreed to review in one team mana month’s time.

These conversations are never fun but what Brenda has now done, has had positive consequences across the rest of the team. Mike apologised to Sarah for his actions.

The team now knows that Brenda is willing to ensure everyone contributes equally and that she will address non-performance. Employees are reassured they won’t be ‘carrying non-performers’.

Managing a team when they’re not respectful to each other

When there is conflict or poor communication among employees everyone will be affected. Brenda took swift action when she heard Lesley speaking disrespectfully to Kim.

Brenda told Lesley what she had seen and observed and asked her to explain. After hearing Lesley’s explanation, Brenda reinforced her expectations of how staff treat each other.

If a team member has done something wrong, the matter is to be addressed in a respectful manner. Brenda modelled to Lesley how she could have approached Kim differently to achieve a better outcome.

Lesley was now aware of Brenda’s expectations.

Easy stuff and hard stuff – it’s worth it

The key to having great communication and even ‘fun’ at work is ensuring everyone contributes to making the workplace a great place to be. This includes everyone completing their tasks and speaking to each other respectfully.

As a team manager, you need to be prepared for having these conversations to help you become a confident and effective leader. Implement these tips as soon as you notice something you’re not comfortable with and you will be rewarded by having a harmonious, committed team.



Andrea (162 Posts)

Andrea Doyle MHRM, Accredited Mediator – NMAS
Workplace Mediator, Conflict Manager
Author, Presenter

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