It’s hard to lead a team when none of them want to follow you, yet for many leaders this is exactly what they try to do. Wrapped up in the authority of their position they forget that a leadership position is one of serving others.
I always remember the quote by Jack Welch “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
There are many ways to becoming the leader your team need and want, but for this blog I’ll keep it to the four tips I believe are the most important to work on first.
1. Identify their strengths and passions
The other day I observed a senior leader coaching one of his staff members. He had known this particular staff member for 18 years, yet by coaching him to a specific framework he uncovered a number of areas and issues that were important to this individual that he never knew about.
The lesson here for all of us is to not assume you know, be curious, ask your team questions about their strengths and weaknesses, what they like and don’t like about their role and what areas they’d like to have more training. They might just surprise you! As a leader, it is so important to know the strengths and passions of each member on your team.
2. Understand what motivates them
I often ask leaders I work with “What motivates John, Bill, Lisa or Karen the most?” They look at me and say, “I don’t know maybe money, bonuses, or a promotion?”
The truth is you won’t know unless you take the time to find out what is important to them and what motivates them. This is a powerful question so take the time to ask it. I can guarantee your team will appreciate you asking them – and whatever they tell you REMEMBER to use it.
3. Observe their cues
Body language speaks volumes so stay tuned to the silent cues your team are giving you. When doing a particular task do their eyes light up or glaze over? Do they become animated and excited or slouched and forlorn? Does the pace and pitch of their speech change? Do their ideas and creativity flow or do they suddenly become negative? These clues will tell you more about your team and help you connect with each of them better.
4. Ask for input
I’m a passionate believer that a leader doesn’t have to have all the answers. Your team are working on the ground every day and they generally know what they need and their customers need more than you. Ask them, let them help set goals, challenge them to find areas of improvement and ask for their feedback.
Not only will your team feel more valued, but you will also be able to identify any knowledge gaps, training opportunities and hidden skills within your team and areas of improvement for your business.
Bonus tip – take the time to build strong relationships with each and every member of your team, you will increase productivity, engagement and loyalty as well as be able to coach them more effectively.
What steps can you take today to get to know your team better?