Job coach: My team thinks I’m unsuitable as a manager. What to do?

Job coach: My team thinks I’m unsuitable as a manager.  What to do?

A colleague who was once an equal, suddenly a boss: When a team member becomes a manager, this can lead to internal conflicts. Job coach Nadia Verspohl explains how to overcome this challenge.

When teams and managers are reshuffled, open and honest communication is required. And the willingness to get involved in the new situation, even if it is difficult.

First of all, it is helpful to understand that difficulties in adapting to change processes are completely normal. A manager should try to accept the new management position with confidence and make a clear distinction between the evaluation of their role and their personality. Because in this case the team is probably referring to the role and not meaning it personally. The manager can signal: I will do everything to create a good and trusting collaboration.

Nadja Verspohl is a qualified social educator, systemic therapist and organizational developer.  She works as a management and organizational consultant at the Fürstenberg Institute, which supports companies and organizations in improving the mental health and performance of their employees and managers.  For the stern, experts from the Fürstenberg Institute answer questions from readers in random order.  Do you have a question about job & mental health?  Write to post@fuerstenberg-institut.de

What the manager needs to address

In my experience, in change situations, three very classic basic needs often emerge among employees due to concern and uncertainty:

  1. The need for autonomy: Can I continue to work independently and self-determined?
  2. The need for a relationship: How does my new manager feel about me and how do I actually feel about her?
  3. The need for security: Will I keep my tasks and meet the new requirements? Up to: Will I keep my job?

In the current situation, these needs initially falter. If the manager knows the needs and concerns of the employees and empathizes with the team’s situation, it helps all sides to make collaboration easier.

It’s old hat, but: The first 100 days are crucial for the manager and the team to grow together. We see this again and again in our consultations. It is an opportunity for everyone, even if it presents challenges. So what can a manager do to create a trusting working atmosphere and find out where the rejection they receive comes from? Here are a few tips:

  • Take time for each individual. Get to know your employees and their skills and show interest in their wishes and needs.
  • Take time for your team. Set up regular meetings with everyone in which projects and topics, but also the team situation and mood, can be discussed openly.
  • Address sensitive issues directly: “I sense your dissatisfaction with the situation. How can we improve it together, what exactly is the problem?” Ask the team to talk openly and not behind their backs.
  • Remain human and, if necessary, say that the situation doesn’t feel good for you either. Make it clear that it is important and possible for you to work well together despite disagreements.
  • Organize a team workshop. Clarify what the team needs for trusting collaboration and also what is important to you as a manager. Set up rules for good cooperation, such as: How do we organize our collaboration? How do we want to give feedback in the team? Create as much clarity as possible in workflows, structures and processes.
  • Give the team time to familiarize themselves with the new situation and thus develop a more positive view of you as a manager.
  • If there is an employee in the team who wanted to become a manager themselves, this is often a special situation. Approach this person openly and ask how you can support them and what areas of work are important to them. This requires a special sensitivity. But: openness and responsiveness are worth it.
  • If you have been promoted to a management position as a former team member, seek open exchange. Talk about what’s difficult about it for the team and what it takes for everyone to feel comfortable and work well in their new roles.

If the problems persist…

If the manager still has the feeling for several weeks that the team is rejecting them, it helps to be approachable and stick with it despite all the difficulties. For example, she can repeat the team workshop and delve deeper into the topics. It is also important to continually reflect on yourself during the process. In this context, external help in the form of consultants and coaches can also help. Managers also have the opportunity to talk to their own manager and work with them to find solutions. If the rejection comes from individual people, it also helps to have targeted individual discussions and discuss where the difficulties in working together lie.

It is important to continually address difficulties as well as initial positive developments and not to shy away from arguments: What is working well? What not? What is needed? Where else can I support in my new role? Employees should notice: My manager takes the topic and our concerns seriously. This is how they create bond and trust.

My advice especially for young managers: Pay attention to your energy balance in all conflicts and difficulties. Managers always operate in a tension between the company, the team and individual employees. On the one hand, the requirements of the company must be met, and on the other hand, the expectations of the team. That’s a lot and often a real balancing act. Managers should therefore take good care of themselves and their own needs and divide their strength. And find out for yourself what is good for you so that you can carry out your new management position in the best possible way and with joy and fun.

Do you have a question about job & mental health? The experts from the Fürstenberg Institute answer questions from readers in random order for this section. Write to:

Source: Stern

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