Know Your Team
Aug 28, 2017
If you are the leader of a team then people are going to come to you. They will expect you to make decisions on their behalf and the chances are they will come to you if they have any problems. In order to get the most from your team it is important to know who they are.
The chances are if you are new to a business then you are working with people who have worked with your team members before. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask- who are the people who are the most self-confident and who needs a bit of cajoling? Who works best on their own and who works best in a team? This may sound obvious but if you know this in advance it becomes easier to assign people in roles that are best suited to them.
Get to know people
There are various ways to break the ice- one of the simplest is to post a survey and get people to talk about their family, interests, career goals etc. Then when you have the first meeting you can talk to the team and help them get to know each other a bit better as well!
Team building exercises can help as well but sometimes the simplest methods can work best- a post-work meal or a trip out after achieving a big target can make a big difference.
While the team is important one-on-one time can work well. You can get to know someone on a deeper level and find out what their personal goals are and what they want to achieve. If you can find out what drives them it then becomes a lot easier to motivate them.
The danger is that you can do all of this work when you first get to know the team and then keep your distance. While an element of that is important (you are still ultimately their boss rather than their friend) your communication should not be solely restricted to official statements, reviews etc.
Being able to discuss things informally (either one on one or smaller groups, not everyone at the same time) makes it easier to know more about them. This can also help if you need to learn about things that could potentially affect their work (illness, stress, losing a loved one etc) and can adjust your plans accordingly.
Don’t be intrusive
As with anything in life there is also a balance- do talk with them too much as it could make them feel uncomfortable. If it seems that someone doesn’t want to talk or feels a bit awkward it is alright to move on or postpone a talk for a later point.
Finally, as well as working together it is also worth discussing things after a project has been completed or at the end of a busy sales period. This is a good chance for the team to give you feedback as well so you can adjust your leadership approach as well.
In short getting to know your team and who works best will allow you to get the most from them but equally working with them can help you improve your skills along the way as well!
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