Leadership Development: 3 Simple Steps to Stop Frustrating Your Team

Leaders never wake up thinking, “Today I’ll frustrate my team!” And yet so many times as the work day progresses, that’s exactly what happens.


Whether it’s through long meetings with no clear goal, assigning a project with a stressfully short deadline, or not clearly communicating their plan, leaders have been guilty of frustrating the very people who make up their support system.

To look at it another way, they are eroding their own foundation when they frustrate the people they work with. While working on leadership development, you must be mindful of the things that you do that bring frustration to your team.

Be respectful of their time.

Employees rank “pointless meetings” among their top three frustrations at work. Thought meetings are sometimes a necessary evil, there are steps you can take to avoid making them a frustration.

  • Set an agenda, share it with your team, and stick to it! Build in time for your team to talk back, ask questions, and share their ideas.
  • Reiterate the point of the call – ensure action items are made clear, people know what’s expected of them, and clarify who they can reach out to with questions.
  • Cover everything you needed to say in 20 minutes? End the meeting early!

Don’t set unrealistic deadlines.

No one likes to be handed a project on Friday afternoon with a deadline of Monday. You must be realistic in what you can expect of, and ask for from your team.

  • Don’t set “flexible” deadlines that move… forward. If you tell a team member you’d like it by Thursday, don’t ask them why you don’t have it yet on Tuesday.
  • For larger projects, build in buffer time for the unexpected. Leave room for changes, reviews, and even the potential for that 24-bug that sweeps through the office.
  • When a short deadline is unavoidable, roll up your sleeves and work alongside your team. Nothing shows support like a leader who is willing to stay late and order pizza.

Don’t expect your team to read your mind.

You may have a great group of people, but they still don’t know what you know.

  • Make your expectations clear. Concerned about progress on a project? Set an expectation that you need a 2-3 sentence email update once a week.
  • If you want something done a certain way, you have to tell your team. Following behind them and “correcting” it will waste your time, and discourage and frustrate your team.
  • Acknowledge a job done well. As leaders, we’re often quick to point out problems, but slow to show appreciation. When your team does a good job – verbalize your praise, and make it authentic.

When your team realizes you value their time, are willing to do the work with them, and don’t withhold information, frustrations will start to evaporate and team spirit will prevail. With just a few easy changes, you can go from #1 frustration, to #1 supporter. What changes can you apply this week?

{Image Credit: Ambro via freedigitalphotos.net}
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