BLUF: New manager is pushing for increased performance but the team is resisting. Performance is not improving and morale is dropping fast. How do I as a top performer and well-respected team member help my manager and the team?
I work in a IT support call center, and am a senior team member and a top performer. I have supervisory and some management experience. I say that to give the background that our new manager (less than 1 year) trusts in me and is couching me in management, as part of this we talk about challenges he is facing with the team.
The team is made up of a mixed amount of fulltime and casual staff. Historically most fulltime team members are promoted from the casual members. That is to say that most of the team has not seen anything other than this environment in their professional careers.
Our team has a low performance culture due to (in my opinion) a lack of leadership in the past. It went through a long period of time without strong leadership. About a year before I started the team got a manager who improved things to a point but did not push individual performance.
By low performance culture I mean the team is not willing to go above and beyond or implement strategies and behaviors to improve individual performance. Team generally wants to do better and want to implement changes in IT to improve, however we come from an environment that requires data or extra justification to make those changes. When asked to get develop this justification the team struggles to understand the benefit to them and pushes back. We (manager and top performers) have tried to communicate the benefits to them but it does not seem to be accepted or understood.
In August we got a new manager who is pushing increased performance, but the team is pushing back. In this time we have had complaints brought forward from the about our manager to his manager and to the union. This has resulted in my manager having to follow any and all policies in a very strict manner, or risk further complaints. This has resulted in a net negative for everyone involved, the team has lost any possibility of flexibility.
He is pushing for some basic things like being on time for shifts, to get people to stay on queue (be available to take incoming calls), and to improve documentation in tickets. The interesting thing is that on an individual level most of the team understands that these asks are good. But when it comes to actually following the asks everyone comes up with roadblocks, and no one presents ideas for a path forward. Some of these roadblocks are legitimate and some are excuses, but there seems to be no drive to find solutions on the teams part.
So my question to you is twofold:
- I am struggling to come up with what I would do in my managers shoes. Feedback is not cutting it at this point with the team. So from a managers point of view what would you do to help the team improve?
- As a peer leadership figure on the team, how can I help my manager move the team forward?