Top Tips on Improving Your Interactions with Team Members

BY Kathy Crosett
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As a manager, you’re expected to have all of the answers. And, you should never have a bad day. Those are tall orders. The truth is, managers struggle like everyone else, especially when it comes to interacting positively with team members. If you’ve found yourself getting defensive after receiving feedback or acting badly in general, check out John Stoker’s recommendations for self-​improvement.

Negative Feedback

It’s never easy to hear the truth when it’s not flattering. If you’ve been brave enough to ask your team members to give you feedback, keep your mouth shut. They’re putting a lot on the line by telling you what you may not want to hear. Even if you’ve promised not to hold negative comments against them, they have to trust that you mean what you say.

Do them the courtesy of listening. Then spend at least 24 hours mulling over what they’ve said. Does the feedback sound familiar? Has someone else told you the same thing and did you bristle at the comments? If so, think about why you’re reacting defensively. 

When you remove emotion from your thoughts, and that’s not easy to do, you might be able to identify specific triggers. Maybe one of your parents always criticized you in the same way and your kneejerk learned reaction from that personal history causes you to behave poorly. Remind yourself that what you really want from the feedback is to improve yourself and your interactions with your staff. When you reflect in that way, you’ll be less likely to snap at the person who’s talking to you.

Seeking Your Advice

How often do team members come to you for help? If your employees aren’t seeking you out from time to time, you should think about why this is happening. Are your team members checking in with someone else? Do they think that another manager in the company is more approachable? People will tell you how they feel through their actions. If you find they are talking with another manager, improve your communication style. For the most part, that comes down to listening and being pleasant.

Check Your Attitude

You may have your doubts about how well an initiative is going or a product is doing. That doesn’t mean you should share your thoughts. You’ve made a commitment to meet a company goal. Reaching that goal means maintaining a positive attitude. 

People don’t enjoy spending time around an individual who is perpetually gloomy and who casts doubt on everything the company is doing. In fact, when you go too far down this road, you could be called a Cynic, one of the toxic behavior types identified through the assessment tools in SalesFuel Coach. Do everyone a favor. Stay positive.