Know your employees – The how and the why!

Peter Drucker said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

While we can read this quote and the first thought traveling through your mind is of course, “I am a great leader, I would never be just a manager.”

I would say there is a time and place for both.

We can never discount the need for getting the job done right.  This precision comes from managing the risks and rewards to deliver the project/product.  Of course the expectation is to deliver said project on time, under budget, and right from the start.  

So can a manager and a leader be one and the same?

Of course, but how can that manager that is already doing the job take it up a notch to being the leader?  Understanding those you wish to lead, of course!

To set yourself apart you need knowledge about the people in your charge.  More than just what their job assignment is and the expectations of results. 

Imagine for a moment that everyone on your team was an open book.  You understood how they communicate, what drives them, what they will do under stress…what else would you like to know?

Running a DISC assessment on your entire team will provide you the how on your team.  It is so valuable to know how an employee will typically react.  The DISC assessment gives you a common knowledge and the ability to know how to communicate with your team.  There are words to avoid and words to infuse in your communication that will make the difference between a team doing what you need and a team striving to excel.

Take it one step further and run a Motivator assessment on the team as well.  What you will find is the true hidden gem to making your team the open book you need to lead effectively.  The motivator assessment will open the door to why an employee gets out of bed and comes to work.  Peering into the closed spaces that do not show, but is surely a factor in how they show up to the game.  

When you combine the how and the why you can then start to lead.

Imagine as a business leader you need to have a discussion with an employee on improving their class that they provide for young people interested in horses.  Your point of view comes from the business model of that class.  To you the only thing that makes sense to keep the program operational is to increase the number of students that are served.  When you go to have the discussion there are two roads you can take.

The first road is to have the discussion with your dominate style directing the way.  This works to manage people.  People will do as they are directed when they depend on you for a paycheck, within reason of course.  However, when you lead from the voice that you would prefer to hear, the employee may not be responding at the level you would like.  As a matter of fact, the employee may take your business stance and desire to have a return on investment as off-putting and not considering the children, the experience of the class, or the ramifications of making changes on a program that is working.

The second road, the one less traveled, is to know that employee well enough to structure the conversation to them.  Speaking directly to their behavioral style and what motivates them will change this employee from judging what you say to aligning their goals to your vision.  In some cases it is as simple as eliminating certain words from you vocabulary for that discussion, or as elaborate as setting the entire conversation up to allow them to come to your conclusion.

To be the true leader of your team you must take charge in understanding who they are, what they bring to the table, why they are a valuable part of the team, and most importantly how to make them feel like the winner they are. 

Leadership is about understanding who you lead, not about you.  Isn’t it time you got to know your team?

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