When managing a team is a bit difficult

When managing a team is a bit difficult

01 January


Anyone who has watched the Netflix series Below Deck will have seen with increasing amazement how employees are treated. As a coach I see many similarities with the daily work at the office

The series is about a gigantic luxury yacht that can be rented by the richest people. That yacht then sails to a very beautiful tropical location and there the guests celebrate their holiday. It looks very nice, but actually this is just like a company that has to keep the guests happy under great pressure.

The 'management' consists of 3 people:
Captain Lee
Boatswain Chandler
Service Manager Kate
At least, that's the series I'm watching right now.

And all three have completely different management styles
Captain Lee; doesn't say much, but when he says something, hide!
Chandler; started with a very relaxed management style, but got into trouble for that later
And Kate; she can be very directive and sometimes downright abusive.

If you have to manage a team at the office, I advise you to watch an episode. Because you can see exactly what effect a management style has on the team.

Chandler got a whole new team of experienced people. He introduced himself by saying that he didn't like strict hierarchical management and that they would all do it together. This is of course very nice, but it also got him into trouble. Because there was no clarity. Everyone just did something. Which was very tiring for the team and due to the lack of communication (Chandler felt that everyone should know for themselves what to do that day) the team made some mistakes.
Captain angry.
Guests disappointed.

I know from experience that there are plenty of team leaders, office managers and executive support staff who feel the same way. I hear it often enough: “We all do it together”. “Someone at his/her level just needs to know this”. These are the people who find managing a team a bit difficult. These people (especially women) find it important to be liked and feel responsible for a good atmosphere in the office. But as the series also shows, Chandler's team needs clarity, not niceness. They want a clear schedule for the day. They want to hear what is required of them that day. They are not at all concerned with whether someone is nice or not. Later in the series, Kate has to take over control from Chandler. The team members find it very refreshing to get clear orders. Now they can focus.

Kate is a very dominant and directive executive. If someone on her team makes a mistake, that person has a problem. Kate doesn’t care what you think of her. It happens her way and no other, which drives some to despair. Her way of communicating can be very unpleasant.

But, it must be said: she is completely clear to her team. And that is also nice, especially when the work pressure is high. The downside is, there's no room for conversation or input from a team member. As a result, she may miss valuable information.

When I coach people who find managing a team (and giving orders or assignments) a bit difficult, I advise them to watch this series. Kate shows that it is not difficult at all. She just says it. No discussion.

If you feel uncomfortable giving orders, and you say to your team ‘we do it together’, then you essentially create a lot of space (for someone else to grab). And you reduce the power distance between you and your team members. Which in turn ensures that you are constantly challenged.

But, what is the best management style? There is no right or wrong answer. The most important thing is that you develop a management style that completely fits your personality. In addition, the culture of your company also plays an important role. Do you want to know more about that? Then please contact me. I'll be happy to help you.

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