Lead Individuals, not Teams

This time of year always feels like the best time to reset and get a fresh start. It’s a great opportunity to make sure that you are setting aside time to intentionally lead your team each week. And most importantly that you are intentionally leading each individual on your team. Every member of your team is different and you will need to adjust and lead accordingly.

How is this done?

We all tend to impose our own wants, needs and preferences on others because it is what we know, but you will be the most effective you can be with your team when you recognize that everyone on your team is different. As a leader, you must work to understand how each individual wants to be treated and led by you at work.

Here are a few things to consider when determining how people on your team might differ:

a. What drives each individual on your team?
Is it: Individual achievement, relationships, learning, providing for their family or something else?

b. What is each member of your team really good at?
What can you do to make sure each person on your team is playing to their strengths?

c. Are they someone who ‘Speaks to Think’ or ‘Thinks to Speak’?
Do you need to give them time to process before asking for feedback, or do you need to let them talk through their thoughts right away?

d. How can you tell when they are frustrated?
How do they react in certain situations and what can you do to help them manage situations that are frustrating for them? How can you tell when they are overwhelmed and need a time out?

e. What is their commitment level?
Where do they fall on the scale of non-compliant, compliant to commitment?

f. Where can they grow and progress?
Not just, where do people in this role typically grow to next, but what is best for them? Do they like learning and taking on new things? Or do they just want to focus on getting better at the work they are currently doing?

If you don’t know these things about the individuals on your team, start watching out for them. You can also ask them during your next individual check-in meeting: What do you feel you are best at? Where do you want to grow? What drives you?

Why it Matters

At the end of the day, we are most effective when we communicate ‘What’s in it for them’. Whenever we want to gain something from our team, make a change or communicate something difficult, we will be significantly more effective if we can accurately identify and communicate what is in it for that individual specifically.

This takes time, intentionality, and effort — but the impact it will have is significant. The biggest predictor of a productive and effective team is the leader’s individual relationship with each person.

Great leaders build effective teams by leading each individual the way they want and need to be led.

Organizations aren’t made vibrant by their policies, reports, strategies and projects. They become vibrant as a result of their people. So as a person who leads people, make sure you invest your time wisely and adjust your approach based on the individual.

Enroll in the Intentional
Leadership Program Today!

Fully understanding how to successfully lead others can be tricky. The key to a strong organization starts with strong leaders. In our Intentional Leadership program, we will provide strategies on:

  • Dealing with performance issues
  • Building relationships and employee commitment
  • Providing meaningful recognition
  • Fostering collaboration
  • Getting results

The Intentional Leadership program will provide you and your staff with actionable strategies and practical tools to improve your ability to lead, inspire others, and get results. Strong leaders make stronger organizations. Learn how to bring out the greatness in others.

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