This is post number six in the series on leading frustrated teams.
Leaders are proved in times of unrest. Captains are tested by stormy seas and disgruntled crews. You haven’t led until you’ve led in times of unrest. Unrest in the environment your enterprise works and unrest with your team.
To effectively lead a frustrated team takes listening leaders. You ability to lead well is capped by how well you listen. You also have to be a present leader in times of unrest.
That is the purpose of leadership, to orchestrate chaos and channel it not only into order but making a difference in the world.
You must also be present. Wholly present. This means more than just physically, it means your complete focus. You also need to be composed. When a leader panics when his team is in panic, nothing but more chaos results…
Ignoring your frustrated team only makes things worse.
Ignoring your frustrated team doesn’t make their frustration go away [Click To Tweet]
This brings us to the heart of this post: Communication. There is no leadership without communication. This is more than just people saying stuff to each other. It is more than emails, texts and phone calls.
This is how leaders need to facilitate communication when their team is frustrated:
When leading a frustrated team, limit the number of communication channels. Limited sources of communication make it easier to manage information. With this you need to state to your team that information about “x” is only valid if it comes from “z”.
Any miscommunication can add fuel to the pandemonium fire.
One of the worst mistakes to make in a crisis is saying nothing. The voice of leadership gives direction. In a crisis leaders must be heard. This also means raising your voice above the noise.
Eliminating noise means identifying the irrelevant and labelling it as such. Say something.
The Other Side
I mentioned this earlier in the series but it is worth repeating. Listen and be present in listening to not only what your team is saying but also the environment. You will never lead well without listening well.
The sources of information are not only your team. It is the process and feedback structures built into your systems that need your attention.
Communication in frustration must always be laced with hope. When teams are overwhelmed what they need to know most is that the reason for their frustration and frustration itself is not insurmountable.
Leadership is about helping people realize a greater future. And it starts with leaders communicating it with their teams.
At each stage of crisis make sure you get feedback for whatever you communicate, so that the message received by your team is not filtered through their frustration and tainted.
Ask what their understanding of your communication has been. This also helps make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Finally, when leading a frustrated team communicate, communicate and communicate.