It’s a good thing when not everyone on your team is like you. Most leaders would agree with that statement. After all, we know that great teams include effectively leading different people. People with different giftings, who are from different backgrounds, and who have different skills.
Intuitively, most leaders know how to interact with various kinds of people. However, we don’t always give a lot of thought to the fact that different people need to be led differently. One of the mistakes leaders tend to make is to have a one-size-fits-all approach to leading their teams. When we fail to recognize that each person we lead might need something different from us, we’ll get some negative results.
Leading different people effectively.
We all have our own unique set of experiences that shape the way we approach leadership and how others respond to us.
Each person on your team has their own set of gifts, talents, and abilities that they bring to the table.
People have different levels of experience, and they’re at different stages in their careers.
We all have different communication styles, and we prefer to receive information in different ways.
So how can you adjust your leadership style to better meet the needs of leading different people?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Get to know your team members. Invest time in building relationships with the people on your team. The better you know them, the easier it will be to adjust your leadership style to fit their needs.
2. Be aware of your own communication style. We all have our own way of communicating, and not everyone responds to the same style. Be conscious of the way you communicate, and be willing to adjust your style to fit the needs of your team members.
3. Be flexible in your approach. Don’t be afraid to try new things or to change the way you do things. If something isn’t working, be willing to adjust.
4. Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask your team members how you can better meet their needs. They may have some great ideas that you haven’t thought of.
5. Be patient. Leading different people takes time and effort. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Be patient and keep working at it, and you’ll eventually find the right leadership style for your team.
People have different character strengths and weaknesses.
No one you lead is perfect. Everyone will come with their own character issues, just like you do.
And then there are personality styles to consider: Maybe you’re a super confident leader. You probably have an easier time leading other super confident leaders. But how are you at leading a talented team member who isn’t as sure of themselves?
What about the detail-oriented person who has a hard time seeing the big picture? Or the team member who is always challenging the status quo?
The point is, there are all kinds of personality types and character issues to consider when you’re leading different people. And each one will require a different leadership approach from you.
You can’t be an effective leader if you don’t understand the people you’re leading. So take some time to get to know them. Understand their strengths and weaknesses. And be patient as you work on finding the right leadership style for each person. Leading different people is a challenging but rewarding task. When you find the right approach, you’ll be amazed at what your team is capable of.
Here’s the bottom line: If you can only lead one kind of person, then only one kind of team member will be able to thrive under your leadership. Why? Because eventually you’ll frustrate those who don’t “fit” your one-size-fits-all approach. And those people will either stay but not contribute to your team as much as they could, or they’ll leave. And in most cases, you’ll assume it was all their fault.
But we as leaders do have a responsibility in leading different people. If we can’t, it’s actually our fault. Here are some ways we can do a better job at this:
1. Get to know our team members.
This seems like a no-brainer, but we often don’t take the time to get to know the people we’re leading. We assume we know them, but we really only know them in terms of their work product. We need to take the time to ask them about their lives, their families, their hobbies, etc.
2. Find out what motivates them.
What makes them tick? What gets them excited about their work? When we know what motivates our team members, we can better lead them to achieve results.
3. Be aware of our own communication style.
We all communicate differently, and not everyone responds to the same style. Be conscious of the way we communicate, and be willing to adjust our style to fit the needs of our team members.
4. Be flexible in our approach.
Don’t be afraid to try new things or to change the way we do things. If something isn’t working, be willing to adjust.
5. Ask for feedback.
Don’t be afraid to ask our team members how we can better meet their needs. They may have some great ideas that we haven’t thought of.
6. Be patient.
Leading different people takes time and effort. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Be patient and keep working at it, and we’ll eventually find the right leadership style for our team.
7.Assume the best about people.
When someone we lead makes a mistake, we always see the mistake before we see the reasons why the mistake happened. And we usually fill in that gap with negative assumptions. When an employee messes up on a project, we might assume they just didn’t care about the project as much as we do. But that might not be the case. Maybe they didn’t understand the project as well as we did. Maybe they were dealing with some personal issues that distracted them from their work. Whatever the case may be, assuming the best about our team members will go a long way in helping us to lead them effectively.
Of course, all of these strategies require me as a leader to be self-aware and healthy enough to be willing to change how I lead so I can be a better leader. But isn’t that the kind of leader people are willing to follow?
How are you effectively leading different people?