4 Reasons Why Your Executive Team May Feel Inadequate
As the primary leader of your team, there are subtle, often unnoticed ways we make our teams feel inadequate. I am not talking about overt behavior like bring rude, condescending, driving them too hard, or perhaps being too cheap and cost-conscious when considering compensation. I am sure you don't consider charging your team for the envelopes used when receiving their paychecks. (Yes, I knew someone who thought about this).
We are all responsible for our own thoughts, behaviors and attitudes, and since we are the leader of this team, we do have a hand in creating the climate in which they work. Sometimes, those climates make us feel energized, satisfied, and recognized. Other climate conditions influence us to feel dissatisfied, unmotivated, and sinks our morale. As part of our role as leader, especially at the top of the organization, it's our accountability to recognize how our efforts, behaviors, and attitudes impact your team. The following are four ways I have noticed executive teams being impacted and causing the climate around them to be more negative.
The other thing that happens is that whatever happens at the executive level tends to cascade in the organization affecting all those down the report line to the front of the organization creating morale, engagement, and customer issues.
You are always the hero of the story
This is a tough one, everyone recognizes you as CEO to be the face and leader of the organization, so many times, it's always about you. What you can control is how this is recognized internally. When every story, success and accomplishment is attributable to your contribution, it makes the rest of the team members feel small and inadequate.
You communicate what they accomplish is never enough
We slack at conveying our praise for our reports and teams or we delay giving them any positive, improvement-oriented feedback. Some leaders never have team meetings, if you can believe that! We have to let them know they are needed and wanted to stave off any discouragement. After all, these positions are tough enough on their own!
We assign them things above what they can accomplish
This one happens very frequently. We misjudge projects and tasks as to whether they are just challenging enough to grow their skill and capacity level versus projects and tasks that they have no hope of a positive outcome. We think "they are experienced, and they will figure it out." If it is something they can accomplish with diligence and hard work, we should at least tell them, "I'm going to stretch you with this assignment, because I believe in you." If it's beyond achievable, we should acknowledge that also and move in a different direction.
You give backhanded praise
This involves thanking them but being passive-aggressive simultaneously. It takes all the good feelings and celebration out of the conversation and to be truthful, it hurts your direct report's feelings, self-esteem, and confidence. You should work on taking out your "buts" and "howevers" from your praise statements. If your team never feels inadequate and feels trusted and backed by you, they will be able to reach for higher projects and higher accomplishments and take you with them.