Whether the manager overchallenges or underchallenges his vis-à-vis essentially has to do with two aspects. This dimension is measured in the X-axis (vertical) of the Leadnow Navigator.

Very often, overworking or underworking employees is related to how much is delegated to them. Delegation Poker takes up this aspect perfectly. Effective managers are masters of delegation poker!

However, what can also lead to excessive demands is dealing with difficult feelings that arise within yourself as a manager. Such feelings arise in conflicts, disagreements, compromises and negotiations in abundance. For example, if the employee behaves like this:

Decide 3-Attack

If the manager is annoyed by such behaviour on the part of the employee, this often triggers excessive demands on the employee. Even if this anger is held back! Here are a few variations:

How does the manager deal with their anger? (Inner dialogue)What does this trigger in the employee?
"I have to be professional and not show my anger"Uncertainty: "What is he hiding from me?" All people are experts at recognising the hidden feelings of the other person. Not precisely, but they feel this as insecurity in themselves.
"I'm direct, I let out everything I feel"Helplessness! Such managers are perceived as moody and unpredictable. "Oh yes, he's having another bad day". Predictability is one of the most important qualities of a manager - then employees feel their self-efficacy.
"I'll show you, boy"Escalation. All people look very closely at how they are treated. However, they don't realise exactly how they treat others. There is a great asymmetry between intention and effect. It is a management job to equalise this asymmetry.
"We'll talk about that later!"Laissez-faire. If talking about the elephant in the room is postponed, this triggers indifference at best. There are elephants standing there. It doesn't matter anyway. In the worst case, not naming the elephant is perceived as hiding something. Then it would be variant 1 - uncertainty.

What does not help?

All the good behavioural tips and feedback methods are neutralised as soon as difficult feelings arise in the manager. Conflict expert Christoph Thommen writes: What helps in such situations is neither:

- Active listening, still

- correct I-messages, nor

- reformulations that minimise escalation, nor

- give good feedback .  

What helps? As always: work on the cause.

As helpful as the above points are in normal day-to-day management. As soon as difficult feelings come into play for the manager themselves, they neutralise the effect! The linchpin in such situations is how the manager deals with difficult feelings. In addition to anger, there is also insecurity, rage, disappointment and envy. 

One of the most important management tasks is to identify, name and accept such feelings. And only then send them back to the employee in a refined form. 

This is not a question of behaviour, but of attitude! Here are some examples related to the video above:

I like Heinz and want him to develop further"Tell me, what's got into you that you have to get so enervated?"
Heinz is welcome if he sticks to the rules"You're too loud and too negative for me. What triggers you so much. that you have to get so loud?"
Now we need a shot across the bow"I don't want to work with you like this. Are you ready to discuss how we can make it so that you don't have to be so loud?"

Good attitudes look after both the well-being of the employees and the well-being of the company. Good attitudes do not take themselves too seriously as managers and also show a little humility:

A very helpful method, especially for employees who are perceived as difficult:

- 363 days a year: "I have the best employees. They can do it!"

- 1-2 times a year: "Can the employee achieve this? Do I trust him or her to take this developmental step?

    --> If no: Be consistent!

Managers are people too. It is allowed to name your own (difficult) feelings. The effective manager has such "emergency exit formulations" at the ready:

- "Now we've lost our way and the mood is bad. Let's adjourn."

This buys you time to reflect on your own attitude. Important: Set a concrete follow-up date immediately! Otherwise it becomes laissez-faire.


The fact that difficult feelings neutralise the feedback rules is inspired by Christoph Thommenn

Fritz Glasl describes the asymmetry of intention and effect as an escalation spiral in conflicts