I'm getting ready to start coaching some basketball teams. Here's a dirty little secret of basketball everywhere: By the time February rolls around, a lot of basketball coaches don't like being around their teams anymore. I've actually heard it referred to it as "I hate my team", quickly following by "will this season ever end?"
The cause is pretty understandable. Sports is a pretty intense experience where wins and losses go up on a standings board. Competitive basketball runs from October/November to February/March, and by the time you get to the fourth month, everyone is a little fatigued. You (the coach) are tired of saying the same things. They (the players) are tired of hearing you say the same things. You know where you fall in the pecking order, and while everyone wants more, it's not always possible based on the talent you have.
Summary: Everyone's a little bit sick of each other. Practices get shorter, because well, what's the point?
The point is the coach is responsible for learning. Just like you are as a manager.
Here's 3 ways for coaches (and you) to stop hating their teams (it works at your company as well):
1. Get out of your rut and get some new freaking coaching techniques. If you find yourself hating your team, you might just be hating yourself. Get some new game - learn new things that are going to help you be a better coach/manager. Try to implement some of those on the fly. Shake it up.
2. Actually give a S### about the development of individuals. See that midling contributor who's a good person? You've been so focused on your macro results that you've treated him like a transaction ("if I tell you to do this, then I get that"). Stop hating your team by taking a personal interest in the professional development of your mid-level talent. Watch them grow once they understand that you're interested in making them better and more successful, regardless of what happens related to team results.
3. Get a better definition of what success is. Not everyone is going to make it to March Madness or the corporate equivalent of that. Some of us have teams that can only deliver a .500 season. Worry about that in the next recruiting cycle - for now, your job is to do a better job of defining what a stretch goal is for the team you have - and then coaching them up to get there. Stop whining and complaining that you don't have enough talent. Set a goal you can achieve with improvement that's realistic for the group you have.
It's normal to start hating your team if the goals you are chasing are difficult and the competition is intense. The problem isn't them, it's you. You're responsible for breaking out of the rut and the self-pity cycle.
You'll wake up tommorrow and it will be February. You'll be sorry you gave up on this team in May.
Plus, go get some better talent if you can. You know what's common among the best coaches? They all have great players. Wooden would have been .500 at Seton Hall.