Bring out the Best in Your TeamMar 02, 2022
Ever notice how different two siblings from the same family can be? I bet you’ve looked around at your own family or someone else’s and asked: “How can two kids who are so different come from the same parents?” It’s likely those parents thought they had this parenting thing figured out with child number one. Only to say hello to number two, number three, or more and have to throw out the playbook and start all over.
Lesson learned: No two people are the same. Right?
If you are leading a team, you’ve probably figured out the same thing. You read the leadership books, follow your gut instinct, and try new things that seem to work. As soon as you put that on “repeat” for the next person on your team, you find yourself stunned and back at square one. People are surprisingly different in the ways they approach almost everything, including their own growth and development.
As a leader, customizing your approach to get the best from your team will likely require some homework. So, to get you started, here’s your three-part homework assignment.
Stage 1: Curious and Objective Observation
How do you identify each person’s unique traits or strengths? Assessments offer quick insight that is best accompanied by observation and conversation. Taking an “assessment only” shortcut can unfortunately lead to unintended bias that might limit our perspective to what the report says. Instead, we can pursue a more curious perspective to set the stage for what must come next. Grab a notebook. Start a page for each person on your team – and over the next few weeks notice what motivates your people to pursue growth.
- Notice how they learned something. What helped them catch on quickly?
- Notice how they engage with others. How do they involve others? How do they learn on their own?
- Notice what they talk about. What type of information do they tend to share frequently?
- Notice what they do with what they learn. How do they translate their learnings into action?
Stage 2: Ask Curious Questions
Once you’ve made your observations, or even in the midst of making your observations, start the conversation. Dialogue is the best way to deepen understanding of how each of your team members are wired differently. The beauty of these kinds of conversations is they often stimulate self-awareness for your team member who may rarely ask themselves what motivates them to learn and grow. Let’s get started brainstorming some questions that might guide your conversation:
- Describe a learning experience that inspired you in your career path.
- What motivates you to want to grow in a particular area?
- How do you determine areas that you would like to learn?
- What kinds of learning activities do you see as most useful?
- What makes learning “stick” for you?
- When and where do you do your best learning?
- How do you measure success when it comes to your learning?
What other questions would you ask as you are trying to discover how the individuals on your team like to grow and learn? Knowing HOW they like to learn before you dive into WHAT they like to learn will help you determine what your individualized approach needs to be.
Stage 3: Co-create a Personalized Development Approach
Observation and conversation are foundational to developing an approach that will nurture each team member to grow in their own way. It doesn’t take a gardener to know that a cactus needs different nurturing than a fern or a hosta. Your next step is to work together to develop a unique approach that will work for them.
Adding in an assessment at this stage can be helpful in giving you and your team member more nuanced information. This third stage is the focus of our next few blogs with more customized and practical ideas to tailor an approach for each individual based on how they are wired.
After you’ve done your “homework”, adding an assessment to the process can be a helpful tool to give people language to describe what they need and how they best contribute. Even though you might have done other assessments in the past, consider getting started with this brief Learning Style Assessment to gain additional insights for your team members.
- Review this mini-assessment based on the Myers Briggs personality preferences.
- See if you can identify your top personal preference.
- Plot your team on where you think they might fit.
- Notice what fits and what might not quite fit with what you learned in your homework.
We are all unique. That’s why conversation is so important. Let’s dive into the conversation on how you can nurture your people to grow in their best way with more strategies in these upcoming blogs. If you are looking for a more customized approach, schedule a 27 minute strategy session and let’s talk about strategies and tactics for developing your people.
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