In an earlier blog last month, we touched on Behaviour Styles and how you can use them to build trust. You can read the full blog here.
The same approach of studying behavioural styles to supercharge management of teams applies to helping managers set boundaries.
Let’s Talk about Change
Is your organisation undergoing significant change? How are you behaving as a manager, dealing with your teams’ emotions and their frustrations due to the change?
Change can bring frustration and uncertainty, causing people to behave in certain ways. Often, their natural behaviour will escalate as they are in a time of panic.
We can adapt to people’s behaviours if we understand why they act the way they do. We want to assist them in dealing with the shift in a positive manner, since this will result in a better outcome.
We can do this by setting clear boundaries, so that everyone understands what each other is going through.
A Practical Example
When I was first a manager, the company I worked for was rapidly expanding, with constant changes to their structure and systems. Often, as managers we did not understand why we were enforcing these changes on our team. We would have to communicate the changes, acting as though we believed in them, even if we felt unsure.
Because we didn’t understand why we were going through the changes, we could not set clear boundaries.
I remember one conversation I had with a team member, talking her through a major change we were going through.
I approached the conversation positively, looking at all the benefits of the change, as that was what I was told to do from leadership and I am a positive person. My team member burst into tears, stating she wasn’t coping and didn’t know what to do, she was so pressured because she did not understand what was expected of her.
To be honest, I did not understand what was expected of me, especially from the leaders who set the changes.
You need to remember, the culture of our organisation was not about the person. We were very much about targets, and not much about the person. I didn’t quite know what to do. I never opposed change and tried to find the good in it, and I was content with the job that I had been given.
I should have altered my behaviour towards this individual instead of always attempting to please the management above me. By adapting to her and establishing my boundaries from the beginning, I would have gained her support for the change.
When expressing the changes, I would have realised that she needed more nurturing. She needed more hand holding.
She needed to be listened to.
Instead, I was so worried about my job and impressing the managers above, being positive all the time, I didn’t think about my team.
Here are five top tips for managers to help you adapt to your team so you can set boundaries when going through changes more positively together:
1. Understand how each person on your team copes with change. Managers must recognise how each team member handles change. Some team members embrace change as an opportunity for growth, whilst others dread or fight it. By understanding their coping methods, you can help them adjust to the change. One-on-one interviews, team tests, or personality frameworks can help you understand preferences.
2. Stop and think: How can I adapt to this person to get a positive result? Effective managers understand that adapting to team needs can improve results. Instead of expecting everyone to conform to one management style, personalise your communication, coaching, and leadership to each team member. This could involve improving communication, providing more resources or training, offering flexible work arrangements, or providing emotional support during transitions.
3. Listen to your team’s concerns. During change, your team needs a safe space to express their worries, anxieties, and uncertainties. Actively listen and validate their emotions. Empathising builds team trust. Encourage honest communication and be open to team suggestions to help you manage changes.
4. Notice their reactions and behaviour. Look for indicators of tension, disengagement, or resistance. Pay attention to their nonverbal cues and behaviour changes to address any difficulties. Addressing these issues early will prevent them from worsening and affecting team morale and productivity. Regular check-ins and feedback meetings allow team members to share their thoughts and get advice.
5. Remember that they are human. They have emotions. It is not just about achieving goals and results. Recognise their emotions and provide an open-minded environment. Balance the human aspect with outcomes to build a strong, resilient team that can handle change.
Discovering Your Team’s Behavioural Styles
If you are wondering what behavioural styles you and your team are displaying, the first step may be to do a quick questionnaire. This will help you assess the situation and find out what support you may be needing. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you one you could do in a team meeting.
Managers, if your team is undergoing significant changes at the moment, you may also be interested in scheduling a free Strategy Call with me to discuss how we can help you manage your team more effectively by understanding and adapting to their needs, particularly during this period of change.